The deadline to file 2020 tax returns will be extended until May 17, 2021, instead of the traditional April 15, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on Wednesday.
The one-month extension applies to both tax filings and payment, and is for federal income taxes only, not state taxes.
“This continues to be a difficult time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers deal with unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” said the IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement.
Taxpayers do not need to take any action to benefit from the new deadline. Those who need more time after May 17 can request an extension until October 15.
Due to the health emergency and its financial impact, this year the IRS began accepting tax returns for 2020 on February 12, instead of its usual early January date.
The federal agency had already extended the deadline for filing taxes until June 15 for those in states where there were declarations of disasters, such as Texas, after the winter storm that affected millions of residents.
Last year, the IRS also extended its deadline by three months, to July 15, amid the chaos of the pandemic.
“This extension is absolutely necessary to give Americans the flexibility they need in a time of unprecedented crisis,” New Jersey Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, said in a statement. .
“Amid titanic stress and strain, American taxpayers and tax preparers must have more time to file,” he said.
The agency has said its staff is fully ready for tax season, but also implored taxpayers to file their returns electronically when possible, otherwise they could face potential delays in processing their returns and refunds.
As of last week, the IRS had processed 25% fewer refunds than last year. Over the past 10 years, the IRS budget has been reduced by approximately 20%.
In addition to cutting its budget, the agency also has the extra work on its hands of sending tens of millions of direct payments to eligible individuals under the $ 1.9 trillion economic relief legislation recently passed by Congress.
With information from NBC News