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Tax deadline moved to July 15 due to coronavirus

March 20, 2020, 2:34 PM UTC

The Internal Revenue Service has changed the deadline to file individual income tax returns from April 15 to July 15, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the change Friday morning on Twitter, saying, “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

The announcement follows news earlier this week that the government is deferring $300 billion in IRS payments by 90 days, penalty-free. Individuals were given an extra 90 days to pay up to $1 million in taxes, while businesses could defer up to $10 million.

The move comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread and government officials urge people to practice social isolation. It’s also a move meant to protect IRS employees, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against gatherings of groups of 50 or more.

The call to extend the tax deadline started in the early days of the outbreak. In an Oval Office address to the nation on March 11, President Donald Trump said he had asked the Treasury Department to extend the filing season deadline, but no additional information had been made available since that time.

Tax professionals had also been critical of the IRS’s delay in announcing a date.

“The AICPA appreciates the efforts being made by the Treasury Department and IRS to provide relief to the taxpaying public,” said Edward Karl, vice president of tax policy and advocacy at the American Institute of CPAs in a March 13 statement. “However, in light of the uncertainty and challenges caused by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, we are disappointed that the Treasury Department and IRS have yet to make an announcement on how relief would help millions of individuals and businesses, and to the CPAs who advise them.”

The IRS is already processing some tax returns. Tax season officially began on Jan. 27.

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