Will the IRS push back Tax Day 2020? How the April 15 due date to file taxes could change

February 20, 2021 0 By boss

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Would the IRS consider postponing Tax Day this year? A request has been made.


Sarah Tew/CNET

You may get a few more months to file your federal tax return this year, if the IRS grants a request made this week to once again push the tax deadline beyond April 15. A committee controlled by the House of Representatives made the case to the IRS on Thursday that automatically extending the deadline to file (without filing for an extension) would give taxpayers much-needed relief from the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tax season is also shorter this year, having started Feb. 12 instead of in late January.

Because of the coronavirus, which has caused widespread job loss and pushed millions into poverty, the IRS shifted back the federal tax filing deadline last year to July 15, to give taxpayers additional time to file.

Extending this year’s tax filing deadline could affect more than just your federal tax return. With Congress tying missing stimulus payments to this year’s tax forms, and in some cases using your 2020 income to determine the amount of a third stimulus check, postponing the federal tax filing deadline could have a significant impact on your financial situation. Here’s what we know about this year’s Tax Day and how moving it back could affect you.

What exactly did Congress ask the IRS to do about the tax deadline?

On Thursday, the House Ways and Means committee sent a letter to the IRS (PDF), urging the agency to delay the deadline to file your tax return this year from April 15. 

The letter did not suggest a specific new due date to file federal taxes, but it did point out that the IRS shifted back the deadline for 2019 taxes by three months, to July 15, because of the coronavirus. The committee urged the IRS to extend the tax return filing season again this year, “to eliminate unnecessary taxpayer and practitioner anxiety.”

 The IRS has not publicly responded to the committee’s request. CNET reached out to the IRS for comment.


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How would a new tax due date affect the third stimulus check?

Since stimulus payments and your tax returns are interlocked this year, pushing back the tax date would affect the third stimulus check.

First, Congress proposes to have the IRS use information on your 2020 tax returns, if processed, when it determines the amount you’d get in your third stimulus check. Specifically, the IRS would look at the AGI, or adjusted gross income, on your 2020 forms to help figure out your payment, using a new stimulus check formula. That could work in your favor if your income from 2019 is lower than 2020. However, if your 2020 tax returns would bring you a larger third stimulus check, like if you have more dependents, you’d want to file as soon as possible, however, so the IRS processes your 2020 taxes before releasing your third stimulus check.

Postponing the tax deadline would give you more time to file, but again, it also means you’d have to wait longer to receive any missing stimulus money, and if there’s a difference between your 2019 and 2020 taxes, you’d have to wait until tax season 2021 to claim it.

What would a new tax due date mean for your missing stimulus money?

Your federal tax returns this year are also how you’ll recover any money the IRS owes you from the first two stimulus checks. If you either didn’t get a payment or got less than you were eligible to receive, you can claim that money on your federal tax forms as a rebate credit when you file this year. That goes for nonfilers, too — those who are not normally required to file a tax return. If you wait to file your taxes closer to a new, later due date, you’re also waiting to receive your money, which will be bundled into your tax return.

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Congress tied your taxes and stimulus check money together.


Sarah Tew/CNET

If the IRS’ postpones the filing deadline, could you delay paying your taxes, too?

If you file a tax extension, that gives you more time to complete and send in your paperwork to the IRS. But that doesn’t get you off the hook for any taxes you owe. Whether it’s April 15 or a later date, the IRS expects you to pay by the filing deadline or you will also be responsible for paying interest accrued on the amount, plus a late payment penalty.

Would your state’s tax due date change, too?

Last year, all states that collect personal income tax shifted back their filing deadlines in sync with the July 15, 2020 tax deadline, according to the American Institute of CPAs. If the IRS postpones the filing deadline again this year, we expect states to follow.

For more details on taxes this year, we spell out the difference between a tax refund and a tax return, how tax season is different in 2021 and three reasons to sign up for direct deposit when you file your taxes.

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