The Internal Revenue Service has announced that they are delaying the April 15th filing deadline to May 17th for all individual 2020 tax returns. In a statement, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig indicated the decision was made in recognition of the fact that most of the nation continues to feel the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taxpayers do not to do anything to take advantage of the new deadline, and while small business owners still must make their Q1 2021 estimated tax payments on time, all individual taxpayers now have an extra month to file their 2020 returns and pay any outstanding amounts. The April 15th deadline currently remains unchanged for corporations.

This announcement comes as welcome news to taxpayers who may need additional time to meet their tax obligations, as well as those who may be looking for more detailed guidance on the recent tax law changes in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. However, individuals who request a standard six-month extension will still have to meet the October 15th filing deadline as usual.

Although the IRS’s decision to delay the federal filing date has no impact on state filing deadlines, taxpayers in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana were also recently granted a more generous federal extension to June 15th. A catastrophic winter storm caused significant damage in those states In February and left millions without power or water during several days of below-freezing conditions, leading FEMA to issue an official disaster declaration for the affected area. The disaster extension for these states does apply to businesses as well as quarterly payroll and estimated tax payments, whereas the nationwide extension does not.

An additional month or more before 2020 returns are due gives taxpayers an opportunity to take a deeper look at any tax savings they may qualify for, such as the R&D Credit or the recently-extended Employee Retention Credit. Experienced tax professionals can help ensure that all applicable incentives are accurately identified and calculated in order to provide maximum relief in this unprecedented time.