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2021 Tax Season: IRS Extends Deadline to May 17

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The 2021 Tax Season and What You Need to Know

Many of us are doing our best to delete 2020 from our memories. But, we have one final step to take before we officially leave last year in our rearview mirrors. Indeed, we must file our tax returns. With the 2021 tax season now in full swing, it's important you don't miss this year's filing deadline.

If you have not yet filed your taxes, you are not alone. Millions of Americans have delayed filing their taxes. Fortunately, the IRS recognizes how challenging the past year has been for many Americans. Thus, the IRS extended the tax filing deadline to May 17. With over 150 million tax returns expected, this extension helps taxpayers meet their obligations to the IRS.

When Did the IRS Extend the Filing Deadline for the 2021 Tax Season?

On March 17, the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department announced that the tax filing deadline would be extended. The extension moves the deadline from Thursday, April 15 to Monday, May 17. You can find additional information regarding the decision here on the IRS website.

Why Did the IRS Extend the Tax Filing Deadline?


The extension of this year's federal tax filing deadline is similar to last year's extension to July 15, 2020. That extension was for "tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak."

IRS officials acknowledge that Americans continue to face COVID-19 related difficulties in 2021. They cite the extended deadline as a way to help taxpayers cope with these challenges:

"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.

The extension allows a bit of extra time to gather for the 2021 tax season. But, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig notes that the filing extension was designed for another reason. It’s to provide “needed tax refunds quickly while also making sure they receive any remaining stimulus payments."

Do Taxpayers Need to Take Any Special Steps to Qualify for This Extension?

No. The IRS says the extension is an "automatic federal tax filing and payment relief" requiring no special measures from taxpayers. There is no need to contact the IRS or complete any special forms to qualify for the extension. Taxpayers automatically qualify as long as they file on or before the extended deadline of May 17.

What if You Still Need More Time to File Your Taxes?

As you review your unique tax situation, you may discover that you need more time beyond May 17. If this is the case, you can request an extension to file your taxes on or before October 15, 2021. To request an extension for an individual tax return, complete Form 4868 before May 17.

Will Requesting an Extension Enable You to Delay Your Tax Payment to the IRS?

No. You have until the official May 17 deadline to pay any taxes you owe to the IRS. If you wait until after May 17 to remit payment to the IRS, you could face interest and financial penalties.

Does the May 17th Extension Also Apply to State Taxes During the 2021 Tax Season?

No. While some states extended their tax filing deadline to May 17, it's important to know the IRS extension is different.

"The federal tax filing deadline postponement to May 17, 2021, only applies to individual federal income returns and tax (including a tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2021, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax." - Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

To determine whether your state made an extension, the IRS recommends that all taxpayers check with their state tax agencies. From there, you’ll be able to confirm any filing extensions or other changes. Texas residents can find all tax-related information by visiting the website for Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

What Steps Can You Take Today if You Have Not Filed Your Taxes for the 2021 Tax Season?

filing-taxesIf you have still not filed your taxes, do not despair. It's not too late to map out a plan to help you file on time and avoid penalties. Here are three simple steps you can take today to put yourself on track to a timely tax filing:

    • Step One: Take a deep breath and relax. With the recent extension, you still have plenty of time to file your federal tax return. So try not to panic.
    • Step Two: Collect your tax documents. Even if you can't file today, you can get a head start by gathering your W2s and other key documents.
    • Step Three: File an extension if necessary. If there are major roadblocks to completing your taxes, then file an extension right away.

Most importantly, try not to be too hard on yourself. The past year has been full of challenges, and many Americans struggle to file their taxes. By taking the steps above, you can make sure you file in advance of this year's extended deadline.

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Filing your taxes on time for the 2021 tax season is important to maintaining your overall financial health. If you would like to take additional steps to improve your financial situation, a dependable credit union can help you.

Whether you need a loan, wealth management guidance, or a checking or savings account, PrimeWay is here to help. As Houston's most trusted credit union, PrimeWay has the resources for financial wellness. We invite you to visit one of our retail centers today to achieve your financial dreams.

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2021 Tax Season: IRS Extends Deadline to May 17

The 2021 tax season is the last step to ending 2020 for good. To that end, the IRS issued a tax-filing deadline extension. Here's what you need to know.

Author Bio

Paul Browne

Paul is about everything digital marketing when he isn't galavanting as a pirate at the Texas Renaissance Festival, going to rattlesnake roundups or accidentally saying yes to Ironman triathlons.

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