Ask the Advocate April 2020 Tax News

Helpful tips for your clients that file as HOH

Susan Maples, Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate.

Susan Maples, CPA
Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate
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We email Tax News to you at the start of each month, which means this edition should be arriving in your inbox right around April 1st.  Given the recent events, my guess is that many of you are reading this right after we sent it instead of waiting until after April 15 as you might have under more normal circumstances. Regardless of when you are reading this, please know that we appreciate the time you take each month to keep up with Tax News.

This month, I want to answer a few of the most common questions we have received so far about the recently extended deadlines to file and pay and also let you know about our contact center hours for the first half of April.

Some of the questions that have come in to us are whether this is a deadline to file and pay, or just a deadline to file. And, whether the extensions apply to C and S corporations as well as other entities such as estates and trusts. The extended deadlines apply to both filing and paying, calendar and fiscal year filers, and to business entities, including C and S corporations as well as estates and trusts. Most importantly, FTB has a COVID-19 webpage which we are updating whenever new information becomes available. This page has a link to the list of all of the available extensions. The IRS also has a Coronavirus Tax Relief webpage with a lot of good information.

Even though taxpayers are allowed an additional time to file, we are still encouraging those who will be receiving a refund and/or California Earned Income Tax Credit to file as soon as possible because for many taxpayers, a refund can provide vital financial assistance during this difficult time.

Finally, I want to let you know that due to the recent changes in the deadlines for taxpayers to file and pay, our contact centers will not be temporarily extending their hours from April 1 through April 15 as we have done in prior years. To allow for social distancing, the contact center has reduced staffing and business hours. Today through April 17, we are open weekdays 8am until 5pm for the Tax Practitioner Hotline, our Customer Services line, and secure chat. I would also note that Tuesday March 31 is a State Holiday and again, due to the extended California deadlines, our contact centers will be closed.

While we work hard to provide you with several options to contact us, we realize that sometimes the best course of action is simply picking up the phone and calling us. To make this process work better for you, it’s always a good idea to check our Wait Times before calling, to determine the days of the week and times when it’s best to call.

I have had the opportunity to spend some time with our contact center staff. It takes a special person to answer calls and respond to chats the entire day. Our contact center staff are committed to providing you with excellent customer service, regardless of the reason for your call or whether you are having a good or bad day. They work long hours helping you and I would like to recognize them for a job well done – thank you!