IRS pushes back tax filing deadline to May 17 amid backlog

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Americans will be getting extra time to prepare their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service says it is delaying the federal tax deadline by a month. The filing deadline, which was originally scheduled for April 15, will now be May 17.

The IRS announced the decision Wednesday and said further guidance would be issued in the coming days.

“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.”

The decision postpones when individual taxpayers must file their return and when their payment is due. The IRS said taxpayers who owe money would not face any further penalties or interest if they pay by May 17. The new deadline also applies to individuals who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to take any action to take advantage of the new deadline. Those who need more time beyond May 17 can request an extension until October 15.

Additionally, the extension gives the IRS time to issue guidance on recent tax law changes. The American Rescue Plan excludes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from federal taxes for those making less than $150,000.

U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Richard Neal (D-MA), both leaders in the House Ways and Means Committee, applauded the move in a joint statement.

“This extension is absolutely necessary to give Americans some needed flexibility in a time of unprecedented crisis,” they said in a statement. “Under titanic stress and strain, American taxpayers and tax preparers must have more time to file tax returns. And the IRS itself started the filing season late, continues to be behind schedule, and now must implement changes from the American Rescue Plan.”

The two had called for the extension and said they would continue to monitor developments during the filing season.

Rettig is scheduled to testify to the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday.

The change doesn’t impact state tax deadlines, according to the IRS.

In addition, residents of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma already had an extension to June 15, due to the winter disaster last month.

The IRS continues to urge people to file as soon as possible, particularly those who are owed refunds. In some cases filing will help taxpayers more quickly get any remaining relief payments they are entitled to.

The IRS said it still plans to issue tax refunds for e-filed returns within 21 days, despite the backlog.

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