Here's what you need to know about the Tax Day extension

The 2019 tax deadline is here after a three-month delay.

July 15, 2020, 4:25 PM

The deadline for taxpayers to file 2019 tax returns and tax payments has arrived after a three-month extension.

The federal government extended the traditional April 15 deadline for tax returns and payments to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension provided economic relief to many taxpayers impacted by business shutdowns, store closings and nationwide lockdowns. The People First Initiative, as it was named, offered taxpayers relief that included delaying installment payments, stopping field enforcement actions and suspending automatic liens or levies.

But all that ends Wednesday. For taxpayers, 2019 tax returns and tax payments, as well as their first two 2020 estimated tax payments, are due on Wednesday, July 15, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS announced on June 29 that the deadline to pay taxes would not be extended beyond that date. However, individual taxpayers who need more time to file their taxes can request an automatic extension to file by Oct. 15. It's important to note that the extension is for filing only, it is not an extension to pay taxes due. Filers have until midnight on Wednesday to submit the request, according to the IRS.

PHOTO: A U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1040 Individual Income Tax form for the 2019 tax year is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Ill., March 20, 2020.
A U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1040 Individual Income Tax form for the 2019 tax year is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Ill., March 20, 2020.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If you still need to file your taxes or make a payment, here is what you need to know about the new deadline:

What is the deadline to file?

Taxpayers must file or pay their taxes by midnight on Wednesday. The IRS said no late filing penalty, late payment penalty or interest will be due for payments prior to July 15.

Who needs to file or pay taxes by the July 15 deadline?

The July 15 due date generally applies to all taxpayers who have an income tax filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Taxpayers and tax professionals should continue to use electronic options.

How can I request an extension to file?

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension to Oct. 15 by using one of two methods. They can file Form 4868 through a tax professional or by using tax software. Filers can also submit a payment electronically with Direct Pay, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or via debit card, credit card or digital wallet options. They should select "Form 4868" or "extension" as the payment type. The IRS said the automatic extension of time to file will process when taxpayers pay all or part of their taxes, electronically, by the July 15 due date.

Businesses that need a filing extension beyond the July 15 deadline can get one by filing Form 7004. However, an extension to file is not an extension to pay. To avoid interest charges and any possible late-payment penalties, be sure to estimate any tax liability and pay it by the July 15 deadline.

Where do I file?

The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. Filers can use electronic services such as E-file or IRS Free File. This reduces tax return errors, as each software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Free File Fillable Forms also provides a free option for everyone. Please visit for more information.

Additional information:

There are several other tax deadlines linked to July 15. You can refer to the IRS website or contact a tax professional for further information.

The IRS is encouraging people who owe taxes, even if they have a filing extension, to pay what they can by Wednesday, the agency writing on their website, "as the IRS restarts compliance activities after July 15, enforcement processes will resume on a case-by-case basis."

The IRS still offers long- and short-term payment plans that allow filers to pay in installments depending on the amount owed. While the balance of unpaid taxes continues to accrue interest and penalties, the monthly penalty rate is reduced to .25% from the original .5%.

Those who need more than 120 days to pay and owe less than $50,000 in combined tax, interest and penalties can apply online.

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