The biggest news for 2017, in the world of tax preparers, came back in 2015, but didn’t make much of a splash outside of our world.
Lady Gaga: They’re changing the due dates for partnership returns, C-corps, and 1099s!
Nancy: THEY’RE CHANGING THE DUE DATES FOR PARTNERSHIP RETURNS, C-CORPS AND 1099S???
Lady Gaga: Yes, that’s what I said! Can you believe it?!!
We were all a-flutter, but no one else really cared. From our perspective, having lobbied for it for so long, it’s seriously one of the most significant pieces of tax legislation for years. So I get that maybe this doesn’t seem like big news to non-tax-preparers, but for us, this is huge. The IRS never changes due dates. I mean, sure — you’ve got your weekends and totally random federal holidays (Emancipation Day, anyone?) here or there, but that just temporarily pushes things forward a day or two. We’re talking about a permanent change for all eternity. Or until the next time. As I said: THIS IS HUGE.
And it’s ultimately a good thing. But it is going to be a major challenge for us this season, so we’re asking you to be patient. And kind. (Please both.)
So what are these huge changes I’m going on about?
The main bits:
1) 1099s used to be due to recipients postmarked January 31, and e-filed with the IRS by March 31. The due date for recipients hasn’t changed, but now they’re due to be efiled with the IRS two months earlier, on January 31.
2) Partnerships used to be due April 15. They’re now due a month earlier, on March 15.
3) C-Corps used to be due March 15. They’re now due a month later, on April 15.
Why? And so what?
I’ll deal with the “why?” first.
The problem with the prior due dates was that it was hard for the IRS to match reported income against the income you said you had on your personal return, and sometimes, it was even hard for you to tell them about it in a timely fashion. For example —
1099s: you’re a freelancer (or more likely, a Chicago landlord) and you get your 1099s from clients (or renters) in early February. You decide to ignore it, because you didn’t really want to report that income anyway. You file in mid-February and get your refund. The IRS receives your 1099 copies on March 31. Now they have to chase you down for the refund that you weren’t entitled to. Make it due two months earlier — problem solved.
Partnerships: so you get a partnership K-1 sent out on April 15. This is a flow-through document that needs to show up on your personal return… ALSO DUE ON APRIL 15. That’s an easy one. Make it due a month earlier — problem solved.
C-Corps: the opposite of above. No flow-through documents. No reason to have it due a month early.
Taxpayers and preparers were struggling with problems created when flowthrough entities’ Schedules K-1 arrived late, sometimes within days (before or after) of the extended due date of their partners’/owners’ personal returns and up to a month after the extended due date of their partners’/owners’ business returns. Late Schedules K-1 made it difficult, if not impossible, to file a timely, accurate return. The Tax Division found that much of the issue related to late Schedules K-1 were a result of the increasing quantity and complexity of flowthrough entities.
Source — http://www.thetaxadviser.com/issues/2016/aug/nex-season-due-dates-have-new-logical-order.html
Much of the issue related to late Schedules K1 were a result of the increasing quantity and complexity of flowthrough entities. The interconnection of business entities and those that own them demanded a more logical flow of information between parties.
Source — http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/newsletters/2015/oct/new-tax-return-due-date-changes.html
Now, the “so what?”
Well, I’ll tell you what.
1099s: DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT IS TO GET W-9 INFO (what you need to file a 1099) FROM PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO GIVE IT TO YOU??? DO YOU???
No, you probably don’t. But try owning a business or consulting with business owners, and you’ll find out fast. People are either actively trying to avoid taxation of income, or they are simply not super-responsible about reading emails and following up with requests. Either way, getting W-9 info from folks by the due date of January 31 is nearly freaking impossible. (Which is why I STRONGLY suggest that small business owners get W-9s before they give vendors their initial check. See my blog post on the topic, here.)
So. Someone doesn’t get their info to you on time and their 1099 goes out late. The only way you’ll be penalized for this is if THEY report it to the IRS. Now… why would they report it to the IRS if THEY are the ones who didn’t respond to the request for a W-9 in a timely manner? Yes, that’s my point. In effect, if someone were impeding your ability to send them a 1099, you really sort of had an extra two months to follow up and argue with them about it — or rather, provide a persuading picture of what will happen if they DON’T respond. Furthermore, let’s say you’re in the rare situation of having a recipient’s W-9 info in a timely fashion, and you send them their 1099 on time… and it’s wrong, and they notice it! You have time to go back and fix the 1099 before it even gets filed with the IRS.
No longer. Now you are required to e-file those 1099s with the IRS on the same day you put them in the mail to recipients. Not only are we going to see a lot of late-filed 1099s, but we’ll also see a lot of amendments. This is all going to increase the burden on accountants during a time of year when they’re already trying desperately to help close out client books (and in my case, implement new Point-Of-Sale systems for clients who end up making the transition in January; don’t ask).
Partnerships: Okay, I’ll admit, I really do like this new due date, in theory. I’ve often been delayed in filing a client’s personal tax return by lingering K-1s, or I’ve filed their return and a K-1 gets submitted after the return is filed. This is a great change, in theory.
But I’m a small business accountant, and I’m the only one in my firm that does taxes! NOW ALL MY S-CORPS AND PARTNERSHIPS ARE DUE ON THE SAME DAY!
I no longer get to take a 5-day vacation at the begining of February. I deal with 4th-quarter taxes in the first two weeks of January, 1099s all-month-long, and launch straight into tax prep before the end of the month. By March 15th, I will be a shell of my former self.
C-Corps: Oh, yay. We get an extra month. I’m sorry… are there actually non-fiscal-year small businesses who file as C-Corps? I think I have two. Yeah, this does not help me at all.
In summary — I may die, but it’s okay. These changes are ultimately a good thing. They make sense. I just don’t know how we’re going to deal with them as a firm without my completely losing it.
LOVE this chart that summarizes many of the new due dates and compares them to the old ones; one-stop shopping —