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Duly Noted

Tax Relief For Puerto Rico Earthquake Victims. U.S. taxpayers in southern and western Puerto Rico who were affected by the earthquakes that began last December have extra time to file various tax returns, as well as relief from certain penalties. Most federal tax returns and quarterly estimated payments due between Jan. 15 and April 15 can be filed until April 30 without penalty, the Internal Revenue Service announced. Penalties for payroll tax deposits due before Jan. 31 will be waived as long as the money was deposited by that date. PR-2020-01.

SEC Offers Regulatory Relief For Coronavirus Reporting. As effects from the novel coronavirus spread through global supply chains and financial markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission offered some flexibility for publicly traded companies with reporting deadlines in March and April. The commission said it would grant an extra 45 days to make public disclosures, provided the company provides an explanation of why it needs the additional time and also discloses and explains the anticipated impact of the virus on its business risk profile, if the impact is material. The commission said it may extend or grant further relief depending on future developments. Release No. 34-88318, March 4, 2020.

How Bad Is The Mail Delivery, Really? Michael and Nancy Seely wanted to take a dispute with the IRS to the U.S. Tax Court, and they had until June 26, 2017, to file their petition. That petition arrived at the court in Washington, D.C., on July 17, in an envelope that was undamaged but without a postmark. The IRS pointed to the lengthy delay as proof that the petition was not mailed before the deadline and sought to dismiss their case. But Tax Court Judge Juan Vasquez gave the benefit of the doubt to the taxpayers and their attorney, Scott Boyce. Boyce said in a sworn statement that he deposited the petition in an official mailbox in Richland, Washington, on June 22. IRS attorneys said it should take no more than 15 business days for a first-class envelope to make that cross-country trip, which would have expired on Friday, July 14. Vasquez chose to overlook the additional business day in this case, noting that the Fourth of July holiday had intervened and could have caused a backlog at the U.S. Postal Service. Timely mailing is considered timely filing. The judge found that what was untimely in this case was more likely to be the mail delivery. Seely v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Memo 2020-6.

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