Did the IRS extend the tax-filing deadline in 2021 in Year 2 of the pandemic? (Updated)

tax day 2021 coronavirus pandemic
Photo via 401(K) 2021/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the world, some Americans might be wondering if the Internal Revenue Service extended the tax-filing deadline for 2021, as it did in the first year of the pandemic. According to multiple reports, the IRS is pushing back the deadline by a month, making your taxes due in mid-May instead of on April 15.

Originally, the IRS did not have any plans to extend Tax Day in 2021. In mid-January, the IRS released a statement with important tax-related dates for 2021. In 2020, the IRS moved the tax deadline from April 15 to July 15 because of the pandemic, but according to the IRS, the tax-filing deadline for 2021 had been set to the normal April 15 deadline. 

On Feb. 22, the IRS announced that, because of the ice storms that devastated Texas, Tax Day for Lone Star State residents will be June 15, 2021. Those in other states that also were declared a disaster by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because of the winter storm also would receive the same extension. 

The IRS also postponed the beginning of the tax-filing season to Feb. 12 from late January for the entire U.S. According to the IRS, that was to help the organization better prepare its systems for the upcoming season. 

“The Feb. 12 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the Dec. 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits,” the release said. 

“Planning for the nation’s filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop to prepare for this as well as delivering Economic Impact Payments in record time,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in the release. “Given the pandemic, this is one of the nation’s most important filing seasons ever. This start date will ensure that people get their needed tax refunds quickly while also making sure they receive any remaining stimulus payments they are eligible for as quickly as possible.”

Additionally, the IRS recommends that Americans file their latest returns as soon as they have all the required documents, especially those expecting a refund. Officials also recommend setting up a direct deposit with the IRS. 

Those who need more time to file their taxes can still file a six-month extension with the IRS. Just remember it’s an extension to file, not an extension to pay your taxes. 

The IRS said it expects 150 million tax returns to be filed this year and that nine out 10 of those returns should receive a refund within 21 days of filing. 

However, the Washington Post reports that tax season might be more chaotic than the IRS says. According to reports, IRS staff is overrun with COVID-19-related issues and “the added responsibility of dealing with stimulus-payment problems.” That means that if you have any questions about your taxes, it might take even longer than usual to reach an IRS representative. 

Sources: IRS, USA Today, Washington Post

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