IRS Recommends Fax to Claim Tax Refunds under the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes provisions that qualify certain taxpayers to claim refunds based on current and prior years’ losses.  In addition, the CARES Act modifies the tax credit for previous years’ minimum tax liability payments. These two provisions will result in a much needed cash influx for many individual taxpayers and corporations.

These claims can only be submitted using traditional paper-based forms; there is no electronic filing option available. To speed up your refund, the IRS is highly recommending that claim forms be sent via fax. If you want a clear paper trail to provide backup showing exactly what you sent and when you sent it, then electronic fax is by far the best option.

Section 2303 of the CARES Act allows taxpayers with net operating losses in 2018, 2019, or 2020 to carry those losses back to each of the previous five years. Section 2305 of the law modifies the credit for prior-year minimum tax liability of corporations. As a result of these two provisions, millions of businesses, individuals, estates, and trusts are eligible to claim refunds.

To file for a refund, individuals, estates, and trusts should file IRS Form 1045.  Corporations (other than S corporations) should file IRS Form 1139. In the past, these forms could only be submitted via the US mail or private delivery service. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Internal Revenue Service has established new procedures.

Eligible claims under section 2303 or 2305 can now be delivered to the IRS using fax. The IRS has reduced the number of personnel reporting to office locations; which has slowed the processing of paper documents substantially.  Although it is still possible to send paper forms, the IRS is recommending against doing so, as it will slow down the result in longer processing times. To speed things up, use electronic fax.

For corporations, Form 1139 can be submitted via fax to 844-249-6236.  For individuals, trusts, and estates, submit Form 1045 via fax to 844-249-6237. The IRS has emphasized that these numbers are not for general use, and should only be used for Forms 1139 or 1045 (and accompanying materials) respectively.

The IRS has also made it clear that if you have already submitted Form 1139 or Form 1045 via mail, you can speed up the processing of your refund request by resubmitting your form via fax to one of the numbers listed above.

As noted above, there is no electronic filing option available for refund claims under the CARES Act, and the Internal Revenue Service never accepts filing via e-mail, due in part to its lack of reliable security. Electronic fax is highly secure and provides confirmation of delivery.  There is no need to send via certified mail or to request a return receipt.  Using a modern electronic fax service like WestFax, you get a detailed record of exactly what was sent, when it was sent, and confirmation that it was received.

For more information Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act, visit the IRS website.