Recent legislation has made significant changes to the deadlines for tax returns and information reporting in 2017. The changes generally apply for returns for the 2016 year filed in 2017, and could require shifting tax preparation work and possibly the decision of whether to extend a return. Major changes include the following:
C corporation returns filed by the unextended deadline are due one month later (except for filers with a June 30 fiscal year-end), while partnership returns filed by the unextended deadline are due one month earlier, with both entities generally receiving six-month extensions.
The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) deadline is moving up from June 30 to April 15, but with a self-executing six-month extension.
Form W-2 and Form 1099-MISC for nonemployee compensation are due Jan. 31.
Congress has changed the due dates for employee wage and tax statements on Forms W-2 and W-3, and Form 1099-MISC for nonemployee compensation. The deadlines were accelerated to battle identity thieves, who often file fraudulent refund claims early in the filing season before the IRS has enough data-matching information to reject the claims.
These forms are now due to the IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) on the same day they are due to recipients, which is Jan. 31, 2017, for 2016 returns. Previously, the forms were not due to the IRS or the SSA until Feb. 28 if filed on paper or March 31 if filed electronically. The deadlines have not changed for Forms 1099-MISC that do not report nonemployee compensation, for other forms in the Form 1099 series or for information returns such as Forms 1096 and 1098. Please note that the penalties for information return failures have increased substantially in recent years, and the IRS no longer grants automatic extensions for Form W-2.
Annual tax returns
Congress shifted the filing dates of annual returns with the intention of requiring pass-throughs, like S corporations and partnerships, to file their returns one month earlier than taxpayers such as C corporations and individuals. The changes are effective for returns for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015. Partnerships and S corporations will file two-and-a-half months after the close of the year (March 15 for calendar-year taxpayers), while individuals, C corporations and trusts will generally file three-and-a-half months after the close of the taxable year (April 18 for calendar-year 2016 taxpayers). The extended deadlines are meant to be staggered similarly, but the phased-in implementation of the new rules for June 30 year-end C corporations make the rules slightly more complex. See the bullet points and tables below for a full description.
S corporations – Return due dates are unchanged and returns are still due two-and-a-half months after the close of the year, with a six-month extension available.
Partnerships – Returns are now due 30 days earlier than under prior law (two-and-a-half months after the close of the year), but the automatic extension has been increased from five months to six months so that the extended deadline is unchanged.
C corporations – Returns are now due 30 days later than previously (three-and-a-half months after the close of the year), and the extension remains six months so that both the original and extended deadlines are now 30 days later (exceptions below). The statute provided only a five-year extension for calendar-year C corporations until 2026, but the IRS used its authority to give them the full six months beginning for the 2016 year.
C corporation fiscal years ending June 30 – Returns are still due two-and-a-half months after the close of the year, but a seven-month extension is available until 2026, when the original due date will shift to three-and-a-half months and the extension will be reduced again to six months.
Trusts – Returns will still be due three-and-a-half months after the close of the year, but the five-month extension moves to five-and-a-half months for Form 1041 and six months for trusts filing Forms 5227, 3520 or 3520-A.
FinCEN Report 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts
, is used to report a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial asset. It has been filed directly with Treasury by June 30 in the past, with no extension available. The filing deadline has been moved to April 15 (April 18 for FBARs filed in 2017 to report assets in calendar year 2016) but a self-executing six-month automatic extension is now available.
The extension does not require any form or request. It automatically applies so that the effective deadline is essentially Oct. 15.
Director, Washington National Tax Office
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