Federal tax deadline for individuals extended to May 17
March 19, 2021
•Land Line Staff
Individuals will automatically receive additional time to file their 2020 tax returns. The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced the 2020 tax year deadline will be automatically extended from April 15, to May 17.
The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days, but IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said the extension comes amid the “unusual circumstances” related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” Rettig said in a statement.
Even with the new deadline, the IRS is urging taxpayers to “consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds.”
“Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to,” Rettig said.
Individuals can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year until May 17, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. The postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax. Penalties, interest and additions to tax will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances after May 17. Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by May 17.
There are no forms to file in order to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request a filing extension until Oct. 15 by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Filing Form 4868 gives taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file their 2020 tax return but does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes due. The IRS says taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by May 17 to avoid interest and penalties.
The extension does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. In general, estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn’t subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer.
State tax returns
The federal tax filing deadline postponement only applies to individual federal income returns and tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments. State tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax are still due April 15.
Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details.
Winter storm disaster relief for Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
Earlier this year, following disaster declarations issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced relief for victims of the February winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. These states have until June 15, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. This extension to May 17 does not affect the June deadline.
For more information about this disaster relief, visit the disaster relief page on IRS.gov. LL