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It's Official: Americans Have More Time to File Taxes in 2021

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Mar 17, 2021 at 6:09PM

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The IRS plans to push back Tax Day for the second year in a row.

Tax Day -- the deadline for Americans to either file their tax returns or request an extension -- will not be April 15 for the second consecutive year.

The deadline to submit 2020 tax returns is moving to May 17, a little over a month past the usual April Tax Day. Note that the reason it's May 17 is that May 15 falls on a Saturday.

Tax spelled out in blocks with a clock on top.

Image source: Getty Images.

To be perfectly clear, this not only gives Americans more time to file their taxes, but it also gives more time to pay any amounts due to the IRS. Presumably, this pushes other tax-related deadlines back as well -- for example, the deadline to make IRA contributions is usually April 15, but taxpayers will have extra time this year.

Why is the tax deadline being extended?

This isn't exactly a surprise, as it makes sense for both taxpayers as well as for the IRS. The recently passed stimulus bill made some significant tax changes, especially the provision that makes as much as $10,200 in unemployment income tax-free for most Americans, and the IRS (and tax preparers) will need to adjust forms and procedures accordingly. There are some other 2020-specific tax provisions that could make it more time-consuming to file taxes as well, plus the start of tax season was delayed from the usual late January start to Feb. 12.

Finally, it's also important to note that if the new May deadline still isn't enough time, taxpayers have the option to file an extension that will delay their filing due date -- but not the payment deadline -- until Oct. 15.

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