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2021 Individual Tax Extension Deadline

Last month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the Federal income tax filing and payment due date for individuals will be automatically extended until May 17, 2021.

Unlike last year, the automatic Federal tax filing extension only applies to individual Federal income tax returns (Form 1040) and payments for the 2020 tax year. It does not apply to First Quarter 2021 estimated tax payments, which are still due on April 15, 2021. The relief also does not apply to the following:

  • Trusts, estates, corporations, or unincorporated business entities with a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2021;
  • Federal income tax returns and payments due on any date other than April 15, 2021;
  • Estate and gift tax returns;
  • Payroll and excise taxes;
  • State income tax returns and payments; and
  • Deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax.

In response to the IRS’s announcement to extend the Federal income tax filing and payment due date to May 17, 2021, many states (a total of 35 to date), have released guidance extending the tax payment and filing deadline for individual state income tax returns to conform with the Federal extended due date. Without listing each of those states herein, it is noted that the states where a majority of our clients reside or do business (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Illinois), have all enacted a May 17, 2021 extension deadline for individual returns. The state extensions also do not apply to First Quarter 2021 estimated tax payments, which remain due on April 15, 2021.

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17, 2021 extension deadline may request a filing extension until October 15, 2021, by filing Form 4868 on or before May 17, 2021. While filing Form 4868 gives taxpayers until October 15, 2021 to file their 2021 tax return, it does not grant an extension of time to pay any taxes due. Accordingly, taxpayers should pay their 2020 Federal income taxes by May 17, 2021, in order to avoid interest and penalties. All tax forms, other than Form 1040, must be extended by their original due date.

For those who made substantial gifts in 2020 and are required to file a state and/or Federal gift tax return (Form 709), the automatic May 17, 2021 extension deadline applicable to individual returns does not automatically extend the deadline for filing gift tax returns, which, based on current guidance, are still due April 15, 2021. Although Form 709 is usually extended automatically with the filing of Form 4868, taxpayers who wish to extend their Form 709 gift tax return, will only qualify for an extension if Form 4868 is filed by April 15, 2021. Alternatively, taxpayers should file Form 8892 by April 15, 2021, to ensure their gift tax returns are properly extended.

Please contact your Hinckley Allen attorney to discuss any questions you may have regarding your tax filings.