US tax authority extends filing deadline to 17 May

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has confirmed that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from 15 April to 17 May 2021.

The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.

‘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.

‘Even with the new deadline, we urge 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.’

Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on 15 April 2021 to 17 May 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.

This 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 as of 17 May 2021. Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by 17 May.

Individual taxpayers do not need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the 17 May deadline can request a filing extension until 15 October 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 15 October to file their 2020 tax return but does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes due. Taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by 17 May 2021 to avoid interest and penalties.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds associated with e-filed returns are issued within 21 days.

This relief does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on 15 April 2021. 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 is not subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their pay checks 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 otherwise due 15 April 2021, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax.

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.

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