S.E. Williams | Executive Editor
As April 15th approaches it is important for readers to keep in mind this year’s income tax deadline was extended from April 15 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 when the change was announced mid-March.
Rettig then cautioned, “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. According to Rettig, “It can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.”
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.
Who Can Benefit from IRS Postponement?
IRS officials noted this postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax.
It is important to be mindful regarding penalties, interest, and additions to tax that will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of May 17, 2021. IRS officials stressed the best way for individual taxpayers to automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes is to ensure they are paid by May 17.
Must You Apply to Receive the Extension?
Taxpayers do not need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. However, 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.
Those who file Form 4868 will have until October 15 to file their 2020 tax return but doing so does not grant an extension of time to pay any taxes due. To avoid penalties and interest taxpayers should pay any federal income tax due by May 17.
Most tax refunds associated with e-filed returns are issued within 21 days.
Does the Extension Apply to CA State Taxes?
In alignment with the IRS the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) also postponed the state tax filing and payment deadline for individual taxpayers to May 17, 2021.
“We recognize what a challenging year this has been for Californians statewide,” said State Controller Betty T. Yee, when the change was announced. “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.”
S.E. Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News.