Politics

IRS extends tax filing deadline to July 15 as coronavirus spreads, Mnuchin says

Key Points
  • The IRS moved the national income tax filing day ahead to July 15, three months after the normal deadline for Americans to send in their returns.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the move, the latest emergency measure to deal with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • President Donald Trump ordered the extension will give "all taxpayers and businesses" more time to file returns and make tax payments "without interest or penalties," Mnuchin said.
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President Trump on coronavirus economic response: We're moving tax filing day to July 15

The IRS is extending the federal income tax filing deadline to July 15 as part of a growing effort to stem the financial pain from the coronavirus pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday.

The move gives Americans three months more than they normally would have to file their income tax returns for the 2019 tax year, without incurring interest or penalties.

President Donald Trump later Friday said that "hopefully" by the time the new deadline arrives "people will be getting back to their lives."

"At @realDonaldTrump's direction, we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15," Mnuchin wrote in a tweet about the extension.

"All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties," he wrote.

In a second tweet, Mnuchin urged taxpayers who might receive refunds this season "to file now to get your money."

Trump echoed that suggestion during a White House press conference.

Tax payments that were due on April 15  now will be due July 15, regardless of the amount, according to guidance issued by Treasury and the IRS late Friday.

Earlier, the agencies only allowed individual taxpayers to defer up to $1 million in taxes (and up to $10 million for corporations) until July 15.

Most Americans are entitled to refunds when they file their federal tax returns.

As of March 13, the Internal Revenue Service had issued 59.2 million refunds out of the 76.2 million million individual income tax returns it had received, or 77.7% of the total number of returns filed by that date.

The average refund check was $2,973, according to IRS data.

Many individual states already had extended their own tax filing deadlines to various dates to give people relief from the financial fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, which has shuttered businesses nationwide and led to large-scale layoffs.

The IRS move will increase pressure on states to align their deadlines with the new one for federal income tax returns.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asked at a press conference if state residents should pay their state income taxes by the New York deadline of April 15, said the new federal guideline should be followed.

The IRS did not immediately return a call for comment from CNBC. It is not clear if the deadline extension also will include the deadline for funding Individual Retirement Accounts for the 2019 tax year.

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A proposal to extend the federal filing deadline to July was included in the Senate's coronavirus economic stimulus bill, which was released Thursday by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

That proposed relief package calls for new federal spending that could top $1 trillion.

Earlier this week, the Treasury Department released guidance that would have pushed back only the deadline for making federal tax payments — not for filing tax returns —  to July 15.

That 90-day reprieve on payments would have applied to 2019 income taxes owed, plus first-quarter tax payments that would have been due on April 15. 

Federal lawmakers and members of the tax preparation community had criticized the proposal to have different dates for filing tax returns and making payments. Mnuchin's announcement ends that debate by having returns and payments each due by July 15.

The White House declined to comment on Mnuchin's announcement.

- Additional reporting by Kevin Breuninger