Coronavirus Doesn't Cancel Tax Season

It has shut down national and international sports leagues, turned out the lights in arenas and performing arts venues and interrupted daily personal routines around the globe.

But there is one annual ritual coronavirus will not cancel- tax season.  

"Taxes are never going to go away, not even for coronavirus."

Dr. Bryan Menk headshot

- Dr. Bryan Menk

Dr. Bryan Menk, associate professor of accounting at Duquesne, says that because the industry has moved mostly to an online environment, there should not be much interruption in preparing or filing taxes, or in receiving a refund.  

"Most tax companies of a significant size already have online abilities," says Menk. "That being said, people in the industry have been much slower to move forward with preparing clients' taxes over virtual private networks (VPNs) but, in this situation, they are kind of forced to."  

One reason tax professionals are sometimes hesitant to move to a VPN is due to the sensitive nature of the information they process. If this information-including social security numbers, salary information, etc.-is compromised, individuals could potentially be at risk for issues like identity theft.  

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a separate entity within the federal government. So while many government agencies are scrambling to assemble a bailout plan for businesses and individuals, the IRS will operate as usual.  

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that Americans will now have until July 15 to file their taxes. Individuals will also be allowed to defer up to $1 million in tax payments to the IRS for 90 days after filing, due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

Menk says this is good-for now. Americans who owe money to the federal government, particularly those facing layoffs and unemployment during business closures, will have extra time to make tax payments.  

As for next year, the filing process may be a bit more challenging.  

"If your life is consistent, your taxes will be consistent," explains Menk. "If you are forced to file for unemployment, for example, as a result of coronavirus, you may not have had to deal with that tax-wise before. There will be a bit of a learning curve, since your tax forms will look different."  

As founding father Benjamin Franklin so eloquently remarked, "in this world, nothing is said to be certain, except death and taxes."  

And as Menk so eloquently adds, "Taxes are never going to go away, not even for coronavirus."

Media Contact: Emily Stock 412.277.9273

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.