The Internal Revenue Service is giving many Americans an extra three months to file their taxes, as the country largely remains on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic

On March 21, the IRS extended the deadline for individuals and businesses to file their tax returns from April 15 to July 15. The delay also applies to tax payments. According to the IRS, delayed payments will neither incur penalties nor interest, regardless of the amount owed. The deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations, and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax. S-corps and partnerships, entities with filing deadlines that were set for March 16, aren't included in the deferment. 

The IRS offered additional guidelines on March 24, including guidance on whether taxpayers need to be ill to qualify. You don't need to be ill nor under quarantine to be eligible for the new deadline.

Here's what else you need to know: 

  • You don't have to submit a special form to file by the new extended date. Nor will you incur interest or penalties as long as you file a return or automatic extension request and pay taxes by July 15. 
  • If you need more time to complete tax paperwork, ask for an automatic extension by filing Form 4868 by July 15. The deadline to file extended returns is Oct. 15, 2020. 
  • Deadlines to contribute to an Individual Retirement Account, ROTH IRA, Health Savings Account, Archer MSA, or penalties on withdrawals from retirement accounts have also been extended to July 15.
  • Estate and gift taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes, and information returns such as 1099 forms do not qualify for the July 15 delay. What's more, tax items that didn't regularly have April 15 deadlines don't qualify. 
  • If you've already filed your 2019 return or scheduled an automatic withdrawal of tax payments, the IRS will not delay payments until July 15. 
  • If you've filed your 2019 return or scheduled an automatic withdrawal of tax payments and want to change the date, here are three options:
    1. If you used an electronic funds withdrawal as part of your filing, you can cancel payments--as long as the request is made two business days before the scheduled payment date--by contacting the U.S. Treasury Financial Agent at 888-353-4537. 
    2. If you used IRS Direct Pay or the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, you must cancel payments two days before the payment date. 
    3. If you scheduled payments by credit or debit card, contact your card company to change the date.