2021 IRS Tax Deadline Extended to May 17

Update: the following article is for the 2021 tax season (2020 tax deadline). As of right now, the IRS tax deadline for 2022 (2021 tax year filing) will be April 18, 2022.

Despite numerous unheeded calls for the IRS to extend the 2021 tax deadline (for 2020 tax returns), as a COVID relief measure, the IRS has confirmed that they will finally delay the deadline. The new delayed tax deadline for 2021 will be May 17, 2021, instead of the original standard April 15 deadline. The IRS had previously announced relief for victims of the winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana by extending the tax deadline to June 15, 2021 for the residents of those states.

IRS Commissioner, Chuck Rettig, explains why the deadline was extended:

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. 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.

You may remember that the IRS delayed last year’s tax deadline a full 3 months to July 15. While a 1+ month deadline is not nearly as generous, at least it helps, particularly in light of the delayed tax filing start date, a number of American Rescue Plan Act changes to this year’s tax laws, and delayed processing of tax returns by the IRS. It would be nice to see an even later deadline extension. It could still happen, but that seems unlikely at this point.

A majority of states have now extended their state tax deadlines as well, with most matching the IRS tax deadline extension.

IRS tax deadline extension 2021

The Revised Deadline for Filing an Extension

If you are unable to file your return by the new extended tax deadline, the tax filing extension deadline is also the same date as the tax deadline – May 17. A tax filing extension provides an extra 6 months (4 if out of the country) to file your return, from the original April 15 tax deadline. If you’re in country, this means that the extended tax filing deadline is October 15, 2021 (not 6 months from the revised deadline).

To file a tax extension, fill out IRS form 4868 and submit it through a tax professional, your tax software, or via the IRS’s Free File tool. It’s important to note that a tax extension does not delay any payments due to October as well – you’ll need to estimate your tax liability and submit your payment by the new extended tax deadline If you overestimate and overpay, you’ll get a refund. If you underestimate and underpay, you will owe the underpaid amount and potentially a penalty on top of it.

IRA/HSA Contribution Deadline Extensions

The IRS has also extended the IRA contribution deadline and HSA contribution deadline to match the new tax deadline of May 17, 2021. Archer and Coverdell ESA accounts share the same deadline.

Estimated Tax Payment Deadlines

Last year, the payment deadline for federal estimated tax payments for those who earn contractual or self-employment income in Q1 and Q2 was also revised to the tax deadline. In 2021, the extended tax deadline will not impact the estimated tax payment deadline. There are 4 quarterly deadlines for estimated tax payments that will fall on these dates:

Quarter:Time Period:Estimated Tax Payment Deadlines (2022):
1January 1 - March 31April 18, 2022
2April 1 - May 31June 15, 2022
3June 1 - August 31September 15, 2022
4September 1 - December 31January 17, 2023

Where & How to File your Taxes

If you haven’t yet started filing your taxes, I previously put together a list of my picks for the best tax prep software and best & cheapest ways to E-file for suggestions on where to file your tax returns. A few of my favorites over the years (some with discounts from affiliate partnerships) include:

If you owe taxes, I would recommend that you pay taxes online, as it is quicker, safer, and more reliable. Also, check out my guide on the basics of how to do your taxes for an overview of most of what you will need to know for filing taxes this year.

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