Federal income tax deadline extended to May 17

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The traditional federal income tax filing deadline has been April 15 since 1955, but this year the deadline has been extended to May 17.

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service made the announcement in March.

“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,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

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Taxpayers are still encouraged to file as early as possible, and filing electronically with direct deposit is both the quickest way to get refunds and resolve outstanding stimulus payments, Rettig said.

Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax. Penalties, interest and additions to tax will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by May 17.

Individual taxpayers do not need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request a filing extension until Oct. 15 by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Filing Form 4868 gives taxpayers until October 15 to file their 2020 tax return but does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes due. Taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by May 17, 2021, to avoid interest and penalties.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds associated with e-filed returns are issued within 21 days.

This relief does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15, 2021. These payments are still due on April 15. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. In general, estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn’t subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer.

State tax returns

The annual mid-May deadline to file Mississippi state income tax returns is still in effect, and falls on the same day as the extended federal deadline — May 17.

Anyone requesting an extension of filing time has until Oct. 15 to file. The extension does not apply to payment deadlines, according to the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

MDOR also encourages taxpayers to file as early as possible and to do so electronically, if possible.