Slowly but surely, America is starting to reopen after the pandemic, and we’re finding ourselves a little bit busier each day. Life is still taking a bit longer than usual, however, as we deal with everything from mail delays to shortened business hours. You may find that your W-2 was late because someone in the payroll department had to quarantine. Maybe the guy who does your taxes for you has severely limited his office hours. Whatever the case, you may find that you need more time to get your taxes done this year.

Luckily, many of those who need more time just got it. The IRS has extended this year’s tax filing deadline, and many taxpayers are rejoicing. Whatever your situation, you’ve likely just got another month of wiggle room. As always, there are a few rules about who can get the extension. If you do qualify for the extension, the IRS will grant it to you automatically. You don’t need to file any paperwork or do anything special.

Does the Extension Apply to You?

The IRS has extended the deadline for individual filers to May 17, 2021. Depending on where you live, your extension could be even longer. This extension may not apply to your business, however, so tread carefully. 

As it stands now, individuals in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana do not have to file their taxes until June 15, 2021. This helps those affected by the severe winter storms these areas suffered. If you lived anywhere else, the deadline for your tax return is now May 17, 2021.

There is more good news. Even though the IRS has extended the filing deadline, you can still expect a prompt refund. The agency claims that it is processing returns as usual and expects to pay refunds promptly. If you need your tax money or are due more stimulus payments, you may file your taxes now. The deadline extension means that you can wait to file your taxes, but you don’t have to.

Most business rules and tax filing deadlines remain the same. If you operate a sole proprietorship and report the income on a Schedule C, the extension applies to you. You have until May to file. The extension came too late to help partnerships and S corporations, however, both of which needed to file their returns by the regular deadline of March 15, 2021. C corporations aren’t getting a break either and need to file by the standard April 15, 2021, due date.

Tax Deadline Extension: What Is and Is Not Extended for 2021

The tax deadline extension is fairly broad, but it did not create a free-for-all. Individuals who owe income tax can wait to pay the tax until the May 17 deadline. Other tax deadlines remain the same. Note that, as always, your tax payments are due when your return is due. If you file an extension, you’ll have more time to file your return, but the due date for any taxes owed remains the same.

If you make estimated tax payments throughout the year, you are still required to do so. Quarterly estimated tax payments for 2021 are still due on April, June and September 15, with the final payment due April 15, 2022. 

2021 State Income Tax Deadlines 

Although the federal income tax due date was extended, the federal government does not control state tax due dates. Many states have their own income taxes and tax deadlines. Some do follow federal guidelines, but they are not required to do so. The chart below will tell you whether or not your state government has extended its income tax filing date.

Be very careful when examining the extension rules for your state as some are tricky. Alabama, for instance, is extending the deadline to file your state tax return to May 17, 2021, but they aren’t giving you extra time to pay. Your return is due on May 17, but you’ll have to pay interest if you don’t pay the tax by April 15.

StateDeadline (As of 3/25/21)
AlabamaMay 17, 2021
AlaskaNo state return necessary
ArizonaNo Change
ArkansasMay 17, 2021
CaliforniaMay 17, 2021
ColoradoMay 17, 2021
ConnecticutMay 17, 2021
DelawareMay 17, 2021
District of ColumbiaMay 17, 2021
FloridaNo state return necessary
GeorgiaMay 17, 2021
HawaiiNo Change
IdahoNo Change
IllinoisMay 17, 2021
IndianaMay 17, 2021
IowaNo Change
KansasMay 17, 2021
KentuckyMay 17, 2021
LouisianaJune 15, 2021
MaineMay 17, 2021
MarylandJuly 15, 2021
MassachusettsMay 17, 2021
MichiganMay 17, 2021
MinnesotaMay 17, 2021
MississippiMay 17, 2021
MissouriMay 17, 2021
MontanaMay 17, 2021
NebraskaMay 17, 2021
NevadaNo state return necessary
New HampshireNo state return necessary
New JerseyMay 17, 2021
New MexicoMay 17, 2021
New YorkMay 17, 2021
North CarolinaMay 17, 2021
North DakotaMay 17, 2021
OhioMay 17, 2021
OklahomaJune 15, 2021
OregonMay 17, 2021
PennsylvaniaMay 17, 2021
Rhode IslandMay 17, 2021
South CarolinaMay 17, 2021
South DakotaNo state return necessary
TennesseeNo state return necessary
TexasJune 15, 2021 (franchise tax)
UtahMay 17, 2021
VermontMay 17, 2021
VirginiaMay 17, 2021
WashingtonNo state return necessary
West VirginiaApril 15, 2021
WisconsinMay 17, 2021
WyomingNo state return necessary

What’s the Purpose of the Tax Extension?

Having more time to file and pay your taxes is nice, but you may be wondering why the IRS is being so generous this year. There are several reasons. As we mentioned earlier, the extension intends to help those in the states affected by unusual winter weather and give them time to recover before worrying about their taxes.

This extension also gives taxpayers who are struggling with COVID-19 fallout some time to catch their breath as well. The stimulus payment hopefully provided a bit of a financial cushion, but COVID-related work absences and quarantines are making it difficult for some taxpayers to access tax preparers in some areas. Others may find that pulling together the necessary tax paperwork is taking a bit longer than usual.

Delaying the deadline helps the IRS too. Like other businesses and organizations, the IRS is attempting to process a mountain of tax returns while they, too, have sick and absent employees during the pandemic. You could also consider it a matter of fairness. The IRS delayed the start of the tax season so they could implement COVID-related changes to their forms and tax software. This delayed the start of the tax season, so it only seems fair to delay the end of the season as well.

Tax law changes seem to be coming fast and furious in the wake of the Coronavirus, and it can be hard to keep up with them all. Most people don’t have the time and, honestly, tax law changes can make for some pretty boring reading. At Picnic Tax, we stay on top of all the changing rules and regulations so you don’t have to. We’re happy to answer any of your tax questions, be they about when to file your taxes or anything else. We’re here to help in a friendly and down-to-earth manner. If you’re stuck, give us a call and we’ll help you get moving in the right direction again.