IRS Won't Extend Tax Return Filing Deadline Beyond July 15

By Joshua Rosenberg
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Law360 (June 29, 2020, 8:18 PM EDT) -- The Internal Revenue Service will not extend the July 15 deadline for filing tax returns, although individuals who are unable to meet the deadline may apply for automatic extensions until Oct. 15, the agency said Monday.

The July 15 tax filing and payment deadline will remain in force, the IRS said in a statement. The deadline was pushed from April because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Individuals who need more time to prepare their tax returns can apply for extensions that would last until Oct. 15. However, those who get extensions will still need to pay their estimated taxes by the July 15 deadline, the agency said.

"The IRS understands that those affected by the coronavirus may not be able to pay their balances in full by July 15, but we have many payment options to help taxpayers," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced in March that the tax return filing deadline for individuals and businesses would be moved to July 15 in light of the pandemic. 

That same month, the agency said it was suspending certain tax payments and compliance programs and pledged generally not to begin new audits or private debt collections until the July 15 deadline at the earliest.

The IRS also previously announced that individuals and businesses that owed estimated tax payments for the second quarter of 2020 could wait until July 15 before paying. July was also set as the deadline for several other tax returns and payments, including returns for Americans living abroad, corporations, nonprofits, partnerships, estates and trusts.

Individuals who require more time to file their taxes can submit Form 4868 by July 15 in order to request an extension until Oct. 15, the agency said. 

Meanwhile, the IRS likely will ramp up its suspended enforcement activities over time once the deadline passes, Paul Mamo, director of collection at the IRS, said this month during a webinar hosted by the New York University School of Professional Studies. 

IRS agents will avoid in-person contact with taxpayers as much as possible until July 15, the agency has said. Payments due between April 1 and July 15 were postponed for those who entered payment plans with the agency. 

The agency also said IRS field officers would generally not initiate seizures of property, liens or levies during the time period, but they would continue to pursue high-income individuals who have not filed.

--Editing by Neil Cohen.

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