Will the IRS extend Tax Day 2020? How the April deadline to file taxes could change – CNET

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Would the IRS consider postponing Tax Day this year? A request has been made.


Sarah Tew/CNET

If the idea of getting your federal tax returns filed by the April 15 deadline is stressing you out, you may find comfort in knowing the IRS could grant a request to push back the filing date a few months. A House of Representatives committee made the case to the IRS on Feb. 18 that automatically extending the deadline to file (without people needing to file for an extension) would give taxpayers much-needed relief from the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tax season is also shorter this year, having started Feb. 12 instead of the end of January as usual, giving people less time to file.

Because of the coronavirus, which has caused widespread job loss and pushed millions into poverty, the IRS shifted back the federal tax-filing deadline in 2020 to July 15, to give taxpayers additional time to file.

Pushing back this year’s tax filing deadline could affect more than just your federal tax return. With Congress tying missing stimulus payments to this year’s tax filings, and in some cases likely using your 2020 income to determine the amount of a third stimulus check, postponing the federal tax filing deadline could have a significant impact on your financial situation. Here’s what we know about this year’s Tax Day and how moving it back could affect you.

What exactly did the House ask the IRS to do about this year’s tax deadline?

On Feb. 18, the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to the IRS, urging the agency to delay the deadline to file your tax return this year beyond April 15

The letter didn’t suggest a specific new due date to file federal taxes, but it did point out that the IRS shifted back the deadline for 2019 taxes by three months, to July 15, because of the coronavirus. The committee urged the IRS to extend the tax return filing season again this year, “to eliminate unnecessary taxpayer and practitioner anxiety.”

 The IRS hasn’t publicly responded to the committee’s request. CNET has reached out to the IRS for comment.


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How would a new tax deadline affect the third round of stimulus checks?

Since stimulus payments and your tax return are interlocked this year, pushing back the tax date would affect the third stimulus check.

First, Congress proposes to have the IRS use information on your 2020 tax return, if processed, when it determines the amount you’d get in your third stimulus check. Specifically, the IRS would look at the AGI, or adjusted gross income, on your 2020 form to help figure out your payment, using a new stimulus check formula. But the tax agency would use your 2019 return if you hadn’t yet filed your form for 2020. That could work in your favor if your income from 2019 was lower than your income from 2020. However, if your 2020 tax return would bring you a larger third stimulus check, like if you have more dependents, you’d want to file as soon as possible, so the IRS processes your 2020 taxes before releasing your third stimulus check.

Postponing the tax deadline would give you more time to file, but again, it would also mean you’d have to wait longer to receive any missing stimulus money, and if there’s a difference between your 2019 and 2020 taxes, you’d have to wait until tax season 2021 to claim it.

What a new tax deadline could mean for your missing stimulus money

Your federal tax returns this year are also how you’ll recover any money the IRS owes you from the first two stimulus checks. If you either didn’t get a payment or got less than you were eligible to receive, you can claim that money on your federal tax forms as a rebate credit when you file this year. That goes for nonfilers, too — those who aren’t normally required to file a tax return. If you wait to file your taxes closer to a new, later due date, you’re also waiting to receive your money, which will be bundled into your tax return.

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Congress tied your taxes and stimulus check money together.


Sarah Tew/CNET

If the IRS extends the filing due date, could you delay paying your taxes, too?

If you file a tax extension, that gives you more time to complete and send in your paperwork to the IRS. But that doesn’t get you off the hook for any taxes you owe. Whether it’s April 15 or a later date, the IRS expects you to pay by the filing deadline or you’ll also be responsible for paying interest accrued on the amount plus a late-payment penalty.

Would your state’s tax due date also change with the new deadline?

Last year, all states that collect personal income tax shifted their filing deadlines to around the July 15, 2020, federal tax deadline, according to the American Institute of CPAs. If the IRS postpones the filing deadline again this year, we expect states to follow.

For more details on taxes this year, we spell out the difference between a tax refund and a tax returnhow tax season is different in 2021 and three reasons to sign up for direct deposit when you file your taxes.

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