Tax Implications on the decrease of interest rates by the IRS in the 3rd quarter
The pandemic COVID-19 has brought huge havoc in the lives of the Americans. Millions of Americans have been affected by this dreadful disease and are struggling between life and death. Businesses across the country have been shut down some temporarily and many permanently. The rate of unemployment in the country is soaring high and it is a state of economic fallout for the Americans.
In such adverse circumstances, the US Government has taken up various initiatives by which the economic lives of the Americans can be improved up to a certain extent. The deadline for Federal Income tax return filing and payment due for 15th April 2020 had been postponed till 15th July 2020. The Federal Government had also made Stimulus Checks available for the Americans under the CARES Act. Many other unemployment benefits, paid leave benefits and much more have been made available for the Americans to alleviate the burden they are facing due to the impact of COVID-19.
One such initiative by the IRS to bring some relief to the taxpayers during these stressful times is the lowering of the tax interest rates for the third quarter of the year 2020.
Decrease in the tax interest rates for the 3rd quarter
On 4th June 2020, the IRS announced that the interest rates for the 3rd quarter 2020 will be decreased effective since 1st July 2020.
The new rates after the reduction would be as follows.
- 3 percent for overpayments
- 2 percent in case of any corporation
- One-half or 0.5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment which exceeds 10,000
- 3 percent for any underpayments
- 5 percent for large corporate underpayments
According to the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest can be determined quarterly. For taxpayers who are other than the corporations, the rate of overpayment and underpayment is equivalent to the federal short term rate plus 3 percentage points.
Interest rates on the Overpayment and Underpayment of taxes
Section 6621 of the Internal Revenue Code helps in the establishment of the interest rates on the overpayment and the underpayment of tax. According to the Section 6621(a) (b), the overpayment rate can be calculated as the sum of the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage point (with an exception of 2 percentage points in case of a corporation), except for the rate for that portion of a corporate overpayment of tax that exceeds $10,000 for a taxable period is the sum of the federal short-term rate added to 0.5 of a percentage point.
According to Section 6621(a) (2), the underpayment rate can be said to be the sum of the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points.
Section 6621(c) states that for the purposes of interest payable under Section 6601 on a large corporate underpayment, the underpayment rate under Section 6621(a)(2) can be determined by the substitution of 5 percentage points for 3 percentage points.
Furthermore, Section 6621(b) (1) states that the Secretary would be determining the federal short-term rate for the first month in each quarter. Section 6621(b) (2) (A) states that the federal short-term rate determined for any month under Section 6621(b) (1) is applicable for the first quarter starting after that month. As per Section 6621(b)(3), the federal short-term rate for any month is the federal short-term rate determined during that month by the Secretary with accordance to Section 1274(d) which is rounded to the nearest full percent.
The Federal short-term rate which is rounded to the nearest full percent based upon the daily compounding determined in April 2020 is 0 percent. Thus, accordingly, an overpayment rate of 3 percent and an underpayment rate of 2 percent are established for the quarter beginning 1st July 2020. The rate of overpayment for the portion of a corporate overpayment which exceeds $10,000 for the quarter beginning 1st July 2020 is 0.5 percent. The rate of underpayment for large corporate underpayments for the quarter beginning 1st July 2020 is 5 percent. These rates would be applicable to the amounts bearing interest during that particular quarter.
Sections 6654(a)(1) and 6655(a)(1) state that the underpayment rate which has been established under section 6621 is applicable in the determination of the addition to tax under sections 6654 and 6655 for failure by a taxpayer in payment of the estimated tax for any taxable year. So, the 3 percent rate is also applicable to estimated tax underpayments for the third quarter which begins on 1st July 2020. Moreover, according to section 6603(d) (4), the rate of interest on the Section 6603 deposits is considered to be 0 percent for the third calendar quarter in 2020.