IRS Tax Filing and Payments Delayed Until May 17, 2021

On March 17, the IRS announced that the deadline to both file and pay 2020 individual federal income taxes has been extended to May 17, 2021. "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. This extension applies to individual taxes only.

Key Takeaways

  • The deadline to file and pay 2020 individual taxes was extended to May 17, 2021.
  • Penalties and interest will not accrue between April 15 and May 17.
  • Taxpayers can request a further extension to file until Oct. 15, 2021.
  • Refunds are not affected by the change.
  • Estimated tax payments for Q1 2021 are still due on April 15, 2021.
  • States were not required to follow IRS guidelines; check your state deadlines.

Due Date Delayed to May 17–But Not for Estimated Taxes

Interest on unpaid 2020 taxes won't start to accrue until May 18, 2021, the IRS said. However, estimated taxes for Q1 of 2021 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," the IRS stated.

Extensions Available to Oct. 15, 2021

Those who need more time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request an extension to Oct. 15, 2021, by filing Form 4868.

Remember that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. An estimate has to be paid by May 17 to avoid additional interest and penalties. The new deadline to file and pay does not constitute tax forgiveness, a form of tax relief available from the IRS.

File Sooner for Tax Refunds

If you're owed the a refund, the IRS urges you to file as soon as possible. Most refunds associated with taxes that are filed electronically are issued within 21 days. And the sooner you file, the less likely you are to have your refund stolen by identity thieves.


Taxpayers in regions of the U.S. affected by natural disasters receive tax relief from the IRS. Check this IRS page updating all of its disaster relief measures.

State Income Tax Deadlines

If you live in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, or Wyoming, state income tax is not an issue since your state has none. You only need to comply with federal and, if applicable, local tax deadlines. According to the AICPA and Tax Foundation, states that have either acted or indicated they would follow IRS guidance are listed below. You can contact your state’s tax authority for updates.

Article Sources
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  1. IRS. "Tax Day for Individuals Extended to May 17: Treasury, IRS Extend Filing and Payment Deadline."

  2. IRS. "2020 Tax Filing Season."

  3. IRS. "Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return."

  4. Federation of Tax Administrators. State Tax Agencies.