IRS reminded taxpayers (IR 2021-114) that the deadline for filing most individual income tax returns this year, except as noted below, was May 17, 2021. It encouraged taxpayers to file electronically for faster and more accurate processing of their federal returns. It also reminded them that they can request an extension of time to file, but must pay any taxes owed by the filing deadline.

The IRS noted that special deadlines apply to taxpayers in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas who were affected by natural disasters. Texas residents and taxpayers outside Texas, whose records or their tax return preparer are located in Texas, have until June 15, 2021 to meet a host of tax deadlines otherwise due on or before June 15, 2021. This includes payment and filing deadlines, contributions to IRAs and pension plans, making tax elections, filing amended tax returns about to expire under the statute of limitations, and multiple other human acts that could have been affected by a natural disaster.  

Anyone who needs more time to file can get it by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, by the tax return filing deadline.  A timely filed Form 4868 will extend a taxpayer’s filing deadline through October 15, 2021. Taxpayers are reminded that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. Taxpayer must generally estimate their tax liability on the form and pay any amount due with the extension.  Nonetheless, a timely filed extension is valid regardless of the accuracy of the estimate or the amount paid with the extension.

Taxpayers paying all or part of their income taxes due by the deadline with IRS Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card will get an automatic extension of time to file by selecting “extension” as the reason for the payment. There is no need to separately file a Form 4868. Taxpayers will also receive a confirmation number after they submit their payment. When paying with Direct Pay and EFTPS, taxpayers can sign up for email notifications.

Any payment made with an extension request will reduce or eliminate (if the balance is paid in full) interest and penalties that apply to payments made after the tax filing deadline.