Last month, the Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals has been extended from April 15, 2021 to May 17, 2021. But apparently the announcement came without much fanfare or promotion and has led to some confusion.
“I was rushing to get my taxes done when I was informed by my accountant informed me that the deadline had been pushed back to May. I had no idea,” said Keisha Wilson.
“Although the IRS do some press surrounding the announcement and it was picked by local and national news, a lot of people didn’t know that they had pushed back the deadlines. So, there was some confusion,” said Michelle Oduntan, of Santa Monica-based MMF Accounting. “Tax preparers, for the most part have been letting people know about the extension.”
Wilson is one of the countless taxpayers unaware of the change in filing dates the IRS was prompted to make in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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. “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 automatic extension means that if you owe taxes for 2020, you have until May 17 to pay without penalties, regardless of amount owed. As stated, those who are due a refund are encouraged to file their returns as soon as possible as e-filed returns can be issued in a few as 21 days.
The extension does not apply to estimated tax payments —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. Those taxes are still due on April 15, 2021.
While the IRS extension only applies to federal taxes, California’s Franchise Tax Board has announced that consistent with the IRS, it haspostponed the state tax filing and payment deadline for individual taxpayers to May 17, 2021 as well.
“We recognize what a challenging year this has been for Californians statewide,” said State Controller Betty T. Yee, who serves as chair of FTB. “I am pleased we are able to postpone tax filing and payment deadlines for all individual taxpayers in California to May 17. Hopefully, this small measure of relief will continue to allow people to focus on their health and safety and navigate the complexities caused by the pandemic.”