IRS Announces Individual Tax Deadline Extension

March 18, 2021

For the second year in a row, the federal income tax filing due date for individuals has been postponed. The postponements come as a part of the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the legislation that has resulted from it, which has added complexity to tax filings and systemic strain to the U.S. tax bureau.

On Wednesday, March 17, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in conjunction with the U.S. Treasury Department, announced an extension of the federal income tax filing due date for individuals. Individual returns for the 2020 tax year are now due on May 17, 2021, rather than the standard date of April 15, 2021.

The IRS stated their intention to issue formal guidance on the extension soon. As of now, here are the details that we are aware of, per the IRS news release:

  • In addition to a filing extension, any federal income tax payments owed for 2020 are also automatically extended to the new due date, with no penalties or interest.
  • The filing and tax payment postponements are applicable for self-employed individual filers.
  • Taxpayers who do not pay any amounts owed by May 17 will begin to accrue penalties and interest at that point.
  • There is no need to file for an extension or contact the IRS—this extension is automatic.
  • Individuals who need more time than the May 17 due date provided should file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to apply for an extension through October 15, 2021. This would result in an extension for filing; any payment due would still need to be paid by May 17 to avoid penalties and interest.
  • The postponement does not apply to the April 15 deadline for estimated tax payments.

Individual taxpayers should be sure to note that this extension only applies to federal income tax filings. While it is possible that states will follow suit with a due date extension, individual taxpayers need to refer to their state tax bureau for guidance on state income tax filings.

In other current tax news, if you have not determined eligibility for the Employee Retention Tax Credit, it is advantageous to do so before March 31, 2021. Please reach out to your tax advisors if you need help with this determination.

As your tax advisors, please be aware that we are actively monitoring the situation for updates that impact you, both federally and locally. We will continue to work hard to meet current tax deadlines and operate under the assumption that all other standard deadlines remain in effect unless an announcement is made by tax authorities. We will be sure to reach out again in the event of any further developments.