Apr 15, 2021 IRS Delays 2020 Tax Filing Deadline to May 17, 2021

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. Taxpayers will incur no interest, penalties, or additions to tax during this approximately one-month relief period for any return or payment postponed under this relief provision.

The relief applies automatically to all taxpayers, and no additional forms need to be filed to qualify for the relief. The new deadline applies to federal income tax payments for the taxable year 2020, including tax payments on self-employment income. It does not apply to estimated tax payments for 2021 that are due on April 15, 2021. There is no limit on the amount of tax that can be deferred.

State tax returns

The federal tax filing deadline postponement to May 17, 2021, only applies to individual federal income returns and tax payments otherwise due April 15, 2021, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. 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.

Note: Earlier this year, the IRS announced that victims of the February winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have until Tuesday, June 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRA and HSA contributions

Contributions to individual retirement accounts (IRA) and health savings accounts (HSA) for 2020 can be made up to the due date (without regard to extensions) for filing the 2020 federal income tax return. Therefore, the IRS’s postponement of the 2020 tax filing due date also extends the time to make contributions for 2020 to May 17, 2021.

Need more time?

If you’re not able to file your federal income tax return by the May due date, you can file for an extension by the May due date using IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Filing this extension gives you an additional five months (until October 15, 2021) to file your federal income tax return. You can also file for an automatic five-month extension electronically (details on how to do so can be found in the Form 4868 instructions). There may be penalties for failing to file or for filing late.

Filing for an extension using Form 4868 does not provide any additional time to pay your tax. When you file for an extension, you have to estimate the amount of tax you will owe and pay this amount by the May filing due date. If you don’t pay the amount you’ve estimated, you may owe interest and penalties. In fact, if the IRS believes that your estimate was not reasonable, it may void your extension.

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