Tax day postponed by three months amid coronavirus pandemic


Courtesy of Flickr (Chris Potter)

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

Tax Day is being postponed from April 15 to July 15 because of the COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, pandemic, as announced by U.S. President Donald Trump and his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on March 20.

Munchin made this announcement over Twitter, inheriting his boss’ style of communication to tell people that their individual federal income tax return forms won’t be due at the usual time.

“At @realDonaldTrump’s direction, we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties,” he wrote. “I encourage all taxpayers who may have tax refunds to file now to get your money.”

Originally, the plan was to just allow individuals and businesses to delay paying their 2019 taxes for up to 90 days, or roughly three months, past April 15.

People would have been able to delay up to $1 million in tax payments, and corporations could have pushed back up to $10 million.

Neither individual filers nor companies were going to pay interest or penalty payments during that time period.

This plan would have still required people to submit their tax returns by April 15, even if their payments wouldn’t have been due until the summer. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle found this to be confusing and called for the two dates be reconciled into one.

Another issue with the original 90-day plan is social distancing.

Individuals who needed help with their forms would not have had an easy time finding a tax preparer or accountant to assist them. In the same vein, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinics for low-income filers closed once the pandemic broke out in America.

If people are unable to receive assistance while filling out their tax returns, they might complete them incorrectly, which is not in either the people’s or the government’s best interests.

The plan to move Tax Day back to July is part of a $300 billion effort to aid the economy while businesses, organizations and corporations are being hard-hit by COVID-19.

However, it is important to note that this Tax Day situation only affects federal taxes and not state taxes.

“Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia,” the Internal Revenue Service wrote on its website. “State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details.”

According to the IRS, about half of all Americans have filed their 2019 federal income taxes as of press time.