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IRS Pushes Tax Date to July 15, Same as Payment Deadline

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 3/20/2020 Laura Davison

(Bloomberg) --

Tax forms and payments won’t be due to the Internal Revenue Service until July 15 this year, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a tweet, as the government looks for ways to respond to the coronavirus.

“We are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” Mnuchin said. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

The announcement and IRS guidance follows an earlier decision to delay the payment deadline, but not the filing deadline, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Tax professionals and lawmakers from both parties have said it could confuse taxpayers to have forms and payments due on different dates.

QuickTake: Why April 15 Isn’t So Taxing for Americans This Year

The change gives individuals and corporations an additional three months to file and pay before they would owe interest and penalties for late filing. Many states have also delayed their filing and payment deadlines.

“There is no limitation on the amount of the payment that may be postponed,” according to the IRS notice.

Expecting a Refund

Mnuchin is encouraging taxpayers who are due a refund to go ahead and file despite the delay, so they can get their checks more quickly. The IRS recommends filing electronically and opting for direct deposit to get the money within about three weeks.

Part of the concern is that it could be difficult or unsafe for people to meet with their tax preparer before April 15 while many businesses and most schools are shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It’s welcome news and it will put the minds of millions of taxpayers and preparers at ease,” said Cindy Hockenberry, director of tax research and government relations at the National Association of Tax Professionals.

Mnuchin has said the delay would free $300 billion of liquidity in the economy as individuals and businesses have more time to address short-term cash-flow issues if they can delay their tax payments.

The IRS on Wednesday delayed the first installment of quarterly estimated tax payments that businesses and self-employed individuals send to the agency, which will now be due July 15. A stimulus package being negotiated in the Senate would move that deadline back even further to Oct. 15.

The IRS also published information for employers with up to 500 workers on Friday advising them how to claim tax credits for providing paid sick and family leave to their employees.

Congress passed a law this week that reimburses those companies for providing up to 12 weeks of paid leave to workers dealing with virus-related issues, including staying home to care for children whose schools are closed.

(Updates with the IRS guidance starting in the third paragraph.)

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