The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.
It is important to note that this deadline change is only for federal taxes. As of this writing, New York State has not changed its tax deadline of April 15th.
In addition, the postponement does not include first-quarter 2021 estimated tax payments from small business owners.
The change applies to individual taxpayers, who now have an additional month to file their returns and pay any taxes owned.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said that the change was made because of the continuing challenges resulting from the pandemic, but urges taxpayers to file as soon as they can, especially if they are owed refunds.
According to The Washington Post, the change was made after calls from accountants and lawmakers asked the IRS to delay the due date as new legislation and pandemic related work changes have disrupted so many taxpayer plans.
There were last minute changes made to the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that gave filers a new exemption on up to $10,200 of jobless benefits. Some filers will need to wait until the forms are updated, resubmit returns or contact a CPA to find out what to do if they have already filed.
A similar delay occurred in 2020, when the IRS had extended the filing season at the very start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The IRS is also busy processing direct payments to households; as of March 17, the IRS has sent about 90 million payments totaling $242 billion to American households.
The Washington Post also reports that the agency is facing a huge backlog of 12.4 million returns filed mostly by individuals, both electronically and in paper filings, from the 2020 tax year that it has started processing but suspended pending further, deeper review, according to the government figures.
The tally includes about 7 million returns that the IRS has designated for “error resolution,” meaning they will require manual review that takes months to wrap up. The Post first reported on these figures last week. But the IRS has millions of additional tax returns to analyze, including those involved in investigations related to issues such as identity theft, contributing to its immense workload.