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Revised COVID-19-related FAQs From the IRS

April 30, 2020

The IRS has revised its COVID-19-related FAQs. The updated “frequently asked questions” – reproduced below – address estate tax return filings and tax payments, portability, qualified disclaimers, allocation of GST exemption, reformation of charitable transfers, and other time-sensitive items of interest to the administration of an estate during this difficult period.

Q. If Form 706 and payment of estate tax is due on May 15, 2020, when is the return and payment due?
A. The return and payment would be due on July 15, 2020. If the return is filed and all estate tax is paid before July 15, 2020, there will be no penalties or interest assessed.

Q. Does this relief provide a postponement of the time to make a qualified disclaimer?
A. It depends. If the period of time to make a qualified disclaimer expires on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, then a taxpayer has until July 15, 2020, to make a qualified disclaimer, provided however that the disclaimer must be timely and valid under state law. This relief is provided through Notice 2020-23’s incorporation of the relief provided in Rev. Proc. 2018-58.

Q. Does this relief postpone the time to file Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent?
A. Yes. The due date for Form 8971 and for furnishing Schedule A, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent, to beneficiaries is postponed as described below.

If Form 706 is timely filed or due during the 30-day period ending on April 1, 2020, then the due date for filing Form 8971 and furnishing Schedule A is postponed to July 15, 2020.

If the due date of Form 706 is postponed to July 15, 2020, and Form 706 is filed before June 15, 2020, then the due date for filing Form 8971 and furnishing Schedule A is postponed to July 15, 2020.

If the due date of Form 706 is postponed to July 15, 2020, and Form 706 is not filed before June 15, 2020, then the due date for filing Form 8971 and furnishing Schedule A is the earlier of 30 days after filing or August 14, 2020.

Q. Is the time to file a claim for refund of gift, estate or generation-skipping transfer tax postponed?
A. If the time for making a claim for refund expires on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, a taxpayer has until July 15, 2020 to make that claim for refund.

Q. Is there a postponement of the time to make a portability (DSUE) election?
A. A portability election must be made on a timely filed return. If Form 706 is required to be filed on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, then the due date for making a portability election is postponed to July 15, 2020.

Additionally, estates without a filing requirement have two years from the decedent’s date of death to make a portability election if filed pursuant to Rev. Proc. 2017-34. If such two-year period expires on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, the date by which a portability election pursuant to Rev. Proc. 2017-34 must be made is postponed to July 15, 2020.

Q. Is there a postponement of time to make an allocation of GST exemption or elect in or out of automatic allocation of GST exemption?
A. Any GST election or allocation made with respect to a 2019 transfer on Form 709 due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, is timely (and, therefore, effective on the date of the transfer) if made on a Form 709 filed on or before July 15, 2020.

Q. Is there relief available for a late allocation of GST exemption?
A. No. The rules for making late allocations of GST exemption are not changed by Notice 2020-18, Notice 2020-20, or Notice 2020-23. A late allocation of GST exemption made on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 (that is, an allocation of GST exemption to a transfer made before 2019) is effective on the date of filing. Therefore, the fair market value of the trust assets for the purposes of determining the trust’s inclusion ratio is the value on the date of allocation or (if so elected pursuant to § 26.2642-2(a)(2)) the value on the first day of the month in which the allocation was made.

Q. May a taxpayer elect to treat an allocation of GST exemption made on or before July 15, 2020, to a 2019 transfer as a late allocation?
A. No. Generally, an allocation of GST exemption to a 2019 transfer made on or before July 15, 2020, is considered timely and effective on the date of the transfer. A taxpayer may not elect, on a return filed on or before July 15, 2020, to treat an allocation to a 2019 transfer as a late allocation. Therefore, GST exemption must be allocated to the transfer based on its fair market value on the date of the transfer (and the valuation method under § 26.2642-2(a)(2) cannot be used).

Q. If, pursuant to a valid extension, Form 706 is due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, has the due date for filing the return been postponed and will interest accrue if the tax was underpaid when filing the extension?
A. The due date for a Form 706 due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, pursuant to a valid extension, is postponed to July 15, 2020. However, because Notice 2020-23 does not postpone a payment of tax that was due before April 1, 2020, interest will continue to accrue from the date payment was due (that is, the due date of the return without extension) until the date of payment.

For instance, if Form 706 was due on November 15, 2019, and was extended to May 15, 2020, then the Form 706 can be filed timely on or before July 15, 2020. However, if the return is filed on July 15, 2020, and additional payment is required, then interest on the underpayment amount will be calculated from November 15, 2019 (including for the entire period between April 1, 2020 and July 15, 2020).

Q. Under Section 2032(d), an estate has until one year after the due date of Form 706 (including extensions) to make an alternate valuation election under Section 2032(a). Is the period of time to make an alternate valuation election postponed?

Q. Is the required commencement date under Section 2032A(c)(7) postponed for qualified farm property?
A. Under Section 2032A(c)(7), a qualified heir has two years from the decedent’s death to commence a qualified use of farm property for which a special use valuation election was made under Section 2032A(a). If this two-year period expires on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, then the end of this two-year period is postponed to July 15, 2020. This relief is provided through Notice 2020-23’s incorporation of the relief provided in Rev. Proc. 2018-58.

Q. Is the time required to make a timely reformation of a non-qualified split interest trust in accordance with Section 2055(e)(3)(C)(iii) postponed?
A. Yes, if the 90-day period referred to in Section 2055(e)(3)(C)(iii) expires on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, then the end of this 90-day period is postponed to July 15, 2020. The 90-day period is based on the due date of the estate’s Form 706 or Form 1041 (as the case may be) as postponed by Notice 2020-23 (to the extent the Notice postpones the return’s due date). This relief is provided through Notice 2020-23’s incorporation of the relief provided in Rev. Proc. 2018-58.

Q. Is the three-year period under Section 2516 to qualify for gift tax exception for transfers between ex-spouses postponed?
A. Yes, if such three-year period ends on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, then the end of this three-year period is postponed to July 15, 2020. This relief is provided through Notice 2020-23’s incorporation of the relief provided in Rev. Proc. 2018-58.

Q. Is the due date for Form 5227, Split-Interest Trust Information Return, postponed?
A. The due date for Form 5227 originally due April 15, 2020, is postponed to July 15, 2020. This relief is provided through Notice 2020-23’s incorporation of the relief provided in Rev. Proc. 2018-58.

Q. Has the time to file a 6-month extension for Form 706 been postponed?
A. If the time to file a request for a 6-month extension for Form 706 expires on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, the extension request may be timely filed on or before July 15, 2020. However, the 6-month extension will be calculated from the original due date. For example, if Form 706 is due on May 1, 2020 and the 6-month extension request is filed on July 1, 2020, then the 6-month extension applies to the May 1, 2020 due date, extending the time to file Form 706 to November 1, 2020.

These FAQ’s are not exhaustive of all the relief granted under Notice 2020-18, Notice 2020-20, and Notice 2020-23. Notice 2020-23 postpones the time for performing all acts listed in Rev. Proc. 2018-58. Please review the Notices and Rev. Proc. 2018-58 for a complete list of all relief

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