LAS VEGAS (KLAS/AP) — Americans will be getting extra time to prepare their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service delayed the traditional tax filing deadline from April 15 until May 17.

The IRS announced the decision on mid-March. The move provides more breathing room for taxpayers and the IRS alike to cope with changes brought on by the pandemic. It is important to note that the new deadline does not apply to those individuals who make estimated tax payments, these are still due on April 15.

“The IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.


  • Postpones when individual taxpayers must file for their return and when their payment is due
  • Taxpayers who owe money would not face any further penalties or interest if they pay by May 17
  • New deadline applies to individuals who pay self-employment tax
  • Those needing more time beyond May 17 can request an extension until October 15
  • New deadline does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15; those remain due this day. (Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. In general, estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn’t subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer.)


  • April 15: Estimated tax payments due
  • May 17: Tax filing deadline
    • Contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts deadline
    • Unclaimed refunds for 2017 deadline
    • AFSP (Annual Filing Season Program) application deadline

The decision to extend the deadline was made after an intense year for the chronically underfunded IRS. The pandemic hit in the middle of last year’s tax filing season, setting the agency back in terms of processing. The IRS has also been a key player in doling out government relief payments, and is currently helping to send out the third round of payments in the middle of the current tax filing season.

Additionally, the extension gives the IRS time to issue guidance on recent tax law changes. The American Rescue Plan excludes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from federal taxes for those making less than $150,000.

The IRS continues to urge people to file as soon as possible, particularly those who are owed refunds. In some cases filing will help taxpayers more quickly get any remaining relief payments they are entitled to.