The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is granting taxpayers a short reprieve when it comes to filing 2020 tax returns. Instead of the traditional April 15th deadline, federal returns will not have to be filed until May 17.
The tax agency said it is granting additional time for taxpayers, as well as tax preparers, because of issues surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
"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," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
Despite the additional time, Rettig says taxpayers who are able should file their federal returns as soon as possible, especially if they are owed a refund.
"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.
Estimated payments and state taxes not affected
Taxpayers who make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS are not affected by the deadline extension. Estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2021 should be paid by April 15.
The IRS extension does not affect taxpayers’ obligation to state governments. Those deadlines remain the same unless state authorities announce changes. Taxpayers should check with their state tax agencies to confirm filing deadlines.
Taxpayers in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have even more time to file their federal returns. After February ice storms in those states, the IRS extended the deadline until June 15. The deadline extension applies automatically, so taxpayers do not need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.
People who need even more time to file can, as always, file for an extension until October 15. The extension can be requested using Form 4868, but it does not extend the time to pay any additional taxes that are due. The IRS says taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by May 17 to avoid interest and penalties.