The federal April 15, 2020 tax filing and payment deadlines have been postponed to July 15, 2020. Also, no interest or penalties accrue.
Federal Income Tax Return Deadline Postponed
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has postponed the deadline to file federal income tax returns by 3 months. This was announced (on Twitter, no less!) on Friday, March 20, and then explained in more detail on Saturday.
This tax return postponement applies to all individuals, but also more broadly. It includes every legal “person”: “an individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation.” IRS Notice 2020-18. So it covers all individuals and businesses.
Federal Income Tax Payment Due Date Postponed
Just as important, the date that tax payments are due is also postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020. (The IRS actually announced this two days earlier, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. IRS Notice 2020-17.)
This applies more broadly than just taxes due for the 2019 tax year. For those paying estimated income taxes quarterly, the payment that was due April 15 is now instead due on July 15, 2020.
There’s no limit to the amount of tax amount postponed. There was a prior maximum amount postponed (in IRS Notice 2020-17) but that maximum has been eliminated. IRS Notice 2020-18, Section III, paragraph 2.
No Interim Interest and Penalties
Since taxes previously due on April 15 are now due on July 15, 2020, no interest or penalties will accrue during those 3 months. As the official Notice states:
the period beginning on April 15, 2020, and ending on July 15, 2020, will be disregarded in the calculation of any interest, penalty, or addition to tax for failure to file the Federal income tax returns or to pay the Federal income taxes postponed by this notice. Interest, penalties, and additions to tax… will begin to accrue on July 16, 2020.
IRS Notice 2020-18, Section III, paragraph 5.
No Extension Needed
This postponement of tax returns and tax payments is automatic. You don’t need to file any extension forms.
If you’ll need more time past July 15, the IRS says:
Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.
Tax Refunds Not Affected?
You may well be expecting a tax refund and so want to file as soon as possible. The IRS is encouraging you to do so:
The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.
IR-2020-58. If you need your refund, the pandemic makes it all the more important to file as soon as possible.
ONLY April 15, 2020 Deadlines Affected
Things are changing fast, but at the moment this postponement does not apply to any other deadlines. For example, there’s no current extension for the March 16, 2020 deadline for corporate tax returns for tax year 2019 or the May 15, 2020 deadline for tax-exempt organizations. Also, the regular filing/payment date of July 15, 2020 still applies for quarterly filers. Again, these may also change.
State Income Tax Deadlines
Many states with income taxes have already matched the IRS’s postponement of tax returns and payments. For example:
- California had earlier postponed to June 15 but extended to July 15 to match the IRS.
- New Jersey’s legislature unanimously passed a bill last week to the likely same effect.
- Montana’s governor on Friday postponed state filing and payment deadlines to April 15.
- Arizona’s governor and then its Dept. of Revenue postponed the April deadlines to July.
It’s reasonable to believe that all or most states will follow the IRS’ lead, and do so quickly. So, please check with your own state’s taxing authority for updates.