In any other year, April 15 is Tax Day. For some, that meant last-minute scrambling to submit their forms. For others, it was a welcome end to a grueling process.
This year, like so much else, that is not the case.
The IRS announced on March 21 that the federal income tax filing deadline has been pushed to July 15, 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
"In short, it means that you've got three months to get the workload together to file your taxes," Mattie Duppler, senior fellow at the National Taxpayers Union, told Cheddar. "Of course, with the coronavirus going on, people have a lot of other things on their mind. So that's certainly a nice reprieve for those who have not yet been able to file."
The extension applies to individuals and business entities alike, and waives all penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.
For cash-strapped businesses, the delay also keeps keeping extra money on hand.
"Particularly for those business owners who are trying to manage cash flow at a time when they potentially had to lay off their workers or close their doors, this will be extremely useful for them as we move closer into July," Duppler said.
"Delaying that tax deadline I think was step number one the administration could take, not only to give Americans certainty but also to create a little more liquidity and a little bit of a buffer for financial situations," she added.
The majority of states followed suit, setting their filing deadlines for July 15. However, a handful of states have offered more or less time for taxpayers.
Hawaii and Iowa's deadlines are July 20 and July 31 respectively. Mississippi gave taxpayers an extra month with a May 15 deadline, while Idaho gave them an extra two months with a June 15 deadline. Virginia's is right around the corner on May 1.
No sign up is required. The federal government and most states have automatically extended the deadline and deferred all tax payments until the posted dates.
This doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't file before the deadline. Indeed, if you want to get your refund in a timely fashion, file as soon as possible.
"Even with the filing deadline extended, we urge taxpayers who are owed refunds to file as soon as possible and file electronically," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement. "Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds."
What the delay means for federal revenue is difficult to determine, Duppler said. Income taxes comprise roughly 50 percent of federal revenue, but the amount is tethered to the country's broader economic health.
"Income taxes are an extremely volatile source of revenue, because of instances that we're seeing right now," she said. "When the economy slows, you have fewer outlets for revenue."