NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Reminder that tax filing deadlines extended 90 days

While today is April 15 and normally the deadline for filing federal and state income taxes and making payments, the due date has been moved to July 15 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The United States Treasury had received a flood of requests for extensions from tax preparation businesses and accounting firms because of the difficulties presented by the pandemic. So the Internal Revenue Service announced on March 21 a 90-day extension of the federal income tax filing deadline.

Gov. Eric Holcomb followed suit the next day by announcing the Indiana Department of Revenue was also extending certain filing and payment deadlines to align with the IRS and support Hoosiers during the COVID-19 health crisis.

We applaud the actions of our federal and state governments in responding to the challenges taxpayers and tax preparers face.

A request submitted to the U.S. Treasury by the National Association of Tax Preparers said its members faced the same challenges as other businesses who have been forced to deal with the coronavirus, according to a recent article in the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly. Those difficulties include mandatory closures of businesses in some cities, a limited number of people allowed in one place, adherence to social distancing recommendations, the inability of tax preparation staff to work due to school closures resulting in unexpected childcare responsibilities, and the inability of taxpayers to attend tax appointments in person and even for some to conduct virtual appointments online due to lack of understanding of the technology involved or the hardware to do so.

“We understand that Hoosiers need that same relief,” DOR Commissioner Bob Grennes said of the state’s decision to offer more time for tax preparations.

Individual Indiana tax returns and payments, along with estimated payments originally due by April 15 are now due on or before July 15 as are those due to the IRS.

Both the federal and state tax filing and payment extensions are automatic, and taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS or Indiana DOR to qualify. And even with the 90-day extension, taxpayers who need additional time to file their federal forms beyond the July 15 deadline may request an additional filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

If Hoosiers need additional time to file, they can request an extension as well. Instructions are available on the DOR’s website. If an individual requests a federal extension, Indiana automatically extends the state deadline and there is no need to file anything additional.

The IRS is urging taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible and says most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

“Even with the filing deadline extended, we urge taxpayers who are owed refunds to file as soon as possible and file electronically,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. “Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds. As a federal agency vital to the overall operations of our country, we ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience.”

The IRS says it will continue to monitor issues related to the COVID-19 virus, and it will post updated information on a special coronavirus page on IRS.gov.


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