Income Tax Returns and Payments Extended

The IRS has pushed back the April 15 tax return filing and tax payment deadline to help Americans struggling with the coronavirus crisis.

(Image credit: (C)2019. Natasa Adzic, All rights reserved. ((C)2019. Natasa Adzic, All rights reserved. (Photographer) - [None])

Ordinarily, taxpayers have until April 15 to file their tax return and pay any tax due. But these are not ordinary times.

The IRS has announced that businesses and individuals will have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay their 2019 taxes. The deferral is part of broad plans by the Trump administration to provide financial relief to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. (For other actions and proposals to boost the economy, see 11 Coronavirus Stimulus Measures That Could Help You in 2020.)

The administration initially wanted to maintain the April 15 filing date but allow individuals and businesses to postpone payments until mid-July. However, tax professionals and some lawmakers urged the IRS to postpone the filing date as well, arguing that many tax preparers have been unable to meet with clients because of the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

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"The reality is that it will be impossible for every taxpayer and their CPA to prepare and file their taxes in the current environment," Tom Hood, executive director of the Maryland Association for Certified Public Accountants, said in a statement.

We expect most states to follow the IRS and push back their filing and payment deadlines as well. However, you should check with your state's tax agency to confirm and to get additional details specific to your state.

If you're expecting a refund—and typically about 70% of taxpayers get one—you should still file as soon as possible. Through mid-March, the average refund was slightly under $3,000. The Trump administration is also encouraging Americans to file their tax returns as quickly as possible so that more people get refunds sooner, which means more cash available for taxpayers who may be facing financial hardship.

Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.