IRS Tightens Filing Rules For Automatic Extensions

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In a move against tax refund fraud and identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service said Aug. 12 that it would allow only one 30-day, nonautomatic extension of time for filing Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, instead of the automatic extensions available now.

In temporary and final regulations (T.D. 9730, RIN 1545-BM50), the IRS said identity thieves and “unscrupulous preparers” often file electronically early in the filing season, leaving the agency unable to verify wage and other information from the W-2 providers until much later.

The new rules are to apply starting in the 2017 filing season, leaving the automatic extension available in 2016.

The proposed regulations add information returns on forms in the 1097 series and Forms 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns; 3921, Exercise of an Incentive Stock Option Under Section 422(b); and 3922, Transfer of Stock Acquired Through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan Under Section 423(c) to the list of information returns with procedures prescribed by regulations for the extension of time to file.

Additionally, the proposed rules clarify that the procedures for requesting an extension of time to file in the case of forms in the 1095 series apply to information returns on Forms 1095-B, Health Coverage, and 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Insurance, but not 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.

The IRS also released proposed rules (REG-132075-14, RIN 1545-BM49) incorporating the temporary regulations and seeking comments by Nov. 12 on matters including whether transitional considerations should be allowed for a category of forms or filers.

To contact the editor on this story: Allison M. Gatrone at agatrone@bna.com.