The IRS announced late Wednesday, March 17, 2021 that it is moving the federal income tax filing deadline for individuals to May 17, rather than April 15.  In its statement, the IRS said that the extended deadline applies to individual taxpayers, including those who pay self-employment tax. Moreover, federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year do not need to be paid until May 17, 2021, regardless of the amount owed, and no penalties or interest will be incurred if paid by that date.

No forms need to be filed by individual taxpayers in connection with this automatic extension.  Individuals can request an additional extension to file their return until October 15, 2021 by filing IRS Form 4868.

Importantly, the IRS also made clear that the extension does not apply to estimated quarterly payments.  Therefore, the first quarterly installments of 2021 estimated taxes will remain due on April 15 (including those relating to self-employment income).  For practical purposes, individual taxpayers paying estimated taxes would still need to estimate their 2020 tax liability in order to determine safe harbor amounts for 2021 estimated taxes.

This extension only applies to an individual’s federal income tax return and State filing and payment deadlines may be different.

The IRS faced mounting pressure from lawmakers to push back the filing deadline in response to the recent tax law changes resulting from the various coronavirus relief packages, including the most recent $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act stimulus package passed earlier this month.  The American Rescue Plan Act, among other things, provides taxpayers with up to $1400 in additional stimulus payments and includes a new tax exemption on jobless benefits up to $10,200.

If you have questions regarding the extension, please contact Brian P. Bunner at 614-744-2573, or any one of the attorneys in our Tax Group.



Brian P. Bunner is an Associate in Dickinson Wright’s Columbus office, focusing his practice on tax law. He can be reached at 614-744-2573, or