The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Wednesday that it is pushing back the filing deadline for 2020 returns from April 15 to May 17, 2021.
The move is intended to give tax filers more time to get their returns in order after a year that wreaked havoc on many people’s finances. Calls to extend the filing deadline accelerated after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law four weeks after the IRS started collecting tax returns.
According to IRS data, 35 million people had already filed their taxes in the first eight days of the tax filing season, well before the bill was signed. But the ARP includes multiple provisions that could impact a filer’s return this year, including a third stimulus payment and a tax break on the first $10,2000 in unemployment insurance.
Now, the IRS is working on guidance for how those early filers can take advantage of the tax breaks in the bill.
The IRS already delayed the start of tax season to Feb. 12 so that it had time to disburse the second stimulus payments earlier this year. It also extended the tax deadline to June 15 for people in Texas after the state was hit with severe winter storms earlier this year.
The move also gives the agency more time to disburse stimulus payments and process tax returns from this year and a backlog from last year.
Taxpayers have emailed CNBC Make It in frustration that they have not received their 2020 tax refund yet, despite filing the first week the IRS was accepting returns. Typically, the agency sends refunds within 21 days.
Individuals who owe taxes can also postpone their payments to May 17, 2021 without penalties and interest. After that date, interest and penalties will start to accrue. Those who need more time can still file an extension through Oct. 15 as usual, but will need to make any tax payments owed by May 17.
To see the status of your federal refund, use the IRS’s Where’s My Refund? tool. Those who e-file will likely get their refunds more quickly than those who file via a paper return.