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IRS pushes Tax Day to May 17. How the new date affects your taxes and stimulus check

Tax Day is now May 17.


Sarah Tew/CNET

If you were already feeling the pressure to file your federal taxes by April 15, the IRS is ready to give you a break for when you need to file your tax forms this year. On Wednesday, the US Treasury and IRS said they will move the deadline to file your taxes out to May 17, “to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic.”

Tax season already started a little later than usual this year, making the time to prepare and file shorter than in previous years. The House of Representatives has been requesting since February that the IRS extend the filing deadline, with the agency hip-deep in tax season, processing tax returns and sending out stimulus payments.

And adding to the IRS’ plate, any missing stimulus payments are linked to your taxes, and your 2020 income could be used to determine how much money you’ll get in a third stimulus check, plus it could affect when you’d receive a payment. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s Tax Day and how moving it back could affect you in more ways than one.

With the new IRS May 17 tax deadline, does that delay me from paying my taxes, too?

Yes, without penalty. According to the IRS, “Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.”

If you need time beyond May 17, you can file a tax extension, which gives you more time to complete and send in your paperwork to the IRS.

But that doesn’t get you off the hook for estimated tax payments. The IRS said the month-long extension does not apply to those estimated payments, which are still due on April 15.

The IRS said individual taxpayers do not need to file forms or call the IRS to qualify for the extension.

Does the new tax deadline affect the third round of stimulus checks?

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

First, the IRS uses information on your 2020 tax return, if processed, when it determines the amount you’d get in your third stimulus check. Specifically, the IRS looks at the AGI, or adjusted gross income, on your 2020 form to help figure out your payment, using a new stimulus check formula. But the tax agency will use your 2019 return if your 2020 taxes haven’t been accepted by the time a new bill is passed. That could work in your favor if your income from 2019 was lower than your income from 2020. However, if your 2020 tax return would bring you a larger third stimulus check, like if you have more dependents, you’d want to file as soon as possible, so the IRS processes your 2020 taxes before releasing your third stimulus check.

Postponing the tax deadline gives you more time to file, but again, it means you 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.


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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get



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What a new tax deadline could mean for your missing stimulus payments

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 aren’t 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

Would my state’s tax due date be the same as the new federal deadline?

Last year, all states that collect personal income tax shifted their filing deadlines to around the July 15, 2020, which was the federal 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 returnhow tax season is different in 2021 and three reasons to sign up for direct deposit when you file your taxes.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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