IRS removes automatic extension for filing Forms W-2

Tax Hot Topics: IRS removes automatic extension for filing Forms W-2The IRS has issued temporary regulations, effective for the 2017 filing season, that remove the automatic 30-day extension of time to file information returns on most of the Form W-2 series, citing the risk and rise of stolen identity return fraud.

Treas. Reg. Secs. 1.6081-8(a) and -8(d) currently allow a person who is required to file certain information returns, including Form W-2, an automatic 30-day extension of time to file those information returns, as well as an additional nonautomatic 30-day extension of time. A filer or transmitter of the forms applies for the automatic extension by filing Form 8809, “Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns.”

Treas. Reg. Sec. 1.6081-8T, which is effective for the 2017 filing season, removes all of the Form W-2 series (except for Form W-2G, pertaining to gambling winnings) from the list of information returns eligible for an automatic 30-day extension of time. The IRS and Treasury Department, in promulgating these temporary regulations, said the change was spurred by identity thieves, who often electronically file fraudulent refund claims very early in the tax filing season, using fictitious wage and other information of legitimate taxpayers.

In many cases, the IRS cannot verify the wage and other information reported on tax returns filed before April 15, in part because the IRS doesn’t receive the information returns until later in the filing season, the IRS said.

Under current law, paper information returns are due to the IRS by the last day of February following the year for which the information is being reported. With extensions, these returns may be due to the IRS by the end of April. Electronically filed information returns are due by March 31, but with extensions, these returns may be due by the end of May.

David Auclair
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Shamik Trivedi
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