Tax Deadline Changed to May 17

March 26, 2021

The Treasury Department and IRS have officially extended the deadline for filing your 2020 federal tax return to May 17, 2021.

If you’re expecting to receive a refund, you should still consider filing your taxes ahead of the new deadline. However, for those with a large tax liability, the new deadline may provide some extra time to develop a thoughtful strategy for paying the taxes due.

Common questions

Do I still need to file my federal tax return by April 15, 2021?

No, the new deadline for filing your federal taxes is May 17. However, if you’re expecting to receive a refund, you should consider filing sooner.

Does this extension apply to state tax return deadlines?

No, the extension applies to federal income returns, not state tax payments or deposits. However, some states have also adjusted their deadlines as a result of February storms or other ongoing challenges. Please consult your tax professional for more details about your state’s policies, which may change as updates unfold.

What if I pay estimated quarterly tax payments?

The extension does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15, 2021. Per the IRS, these payments are still due on April 15.

What do I need to do to elect the deferral?

No special election needs to be made if you decide to delay. Any interest or penalty from the IRS from April 15 to May 17 will be waived. Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances after May 17, 2021.

Does this mean I can make 2020 IRA contributions until May 17?

This hasn’t yet been clarified. The IRS is expected to provide this information in the coming days.

How can I learn more about this change?

The IRS has established a special section on their website to help taxpayers stay up to date with COVID-19-related changes. Visit irs.gov to explore related resources, and reach out to your tax professional and financial advisor with any questions you have about your specific tax situation and financial plan.


Mercer Advisors is neither a law firm, nor a certified public accounting firm, and no portion of its services should be construed as legal or accounting advice. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this document serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Mercer Advisors.

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