Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS postponed the usual April 15 deadline for filing individual income tax returns to May 17, 2021. Even so, many people will still need more time to meet their tax-filing obligation.
Three groups of tax payers automatically get more time to file, whether they have asked for it or not. They are:
- Disaster victims: Victims of the February winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana have until June 15, 2021, to file their 2020 returns and pay any tax due. The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in a federally declared disaster area when at least one area qualifies for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. Ordinarily, this means that taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get disaster tax relief.
- Combat zone taxpayers: Military service members and eligible support personnel serving in a combat zone have at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file their tax returns and pay any tax due. This includes those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones. A complete list of designated combat zone localities can be found in the IRS’ Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.
- Taxpayers outside the United States: U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico have until June 15, 2021 to file their 2020 tax returns and pay any tax due. Though taxpayers abroad get more time to pay, interest — currently at the rate of 3% per year, compounded daily — applies to any payment received after this year’s May 17 deadline. For more information about the special tax rules for U.S. taxpayers abroad, see the IRS’ Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.
Taxpayers who don’t qualify for any of these three special situations can still get more time to file by submitting a request for an automatic extension. This will extend their filing deadline until October 15, 2021. But because this is only a tax-filing extension, their 2020 tax payments are still due by May 17.