The U.S. government extended the 2020 tax-filing deadline in light of the coronavirus pandemic, so there is still a chance to get yours in on time. The new deadline has been officially set as July 15, rather than the previous deadline of April 15. The extension is automatic, so there is no action needed to take advantage of it.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the tax-filing extension on Friday, March 20. Initially, the IRS suggested that Americans should still file their taxes on time, but could defer payments until July, however, Mnuchin revised this advice three days later. Anyone who takes advantage of this extra time will not be charged any interest or other penalties. In total, this gave Americans an extra 90 days to file their taxes.
The IRS noted that it had no control over state taxes at the time, so filings might still be due in April depending on where people live. State filings vary widely by region, with some states not requiring income tax returns at all. The IRS is working to process new tax returns in addition to the Economic Impact payments meant to offset the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the agency is understaffed, according to a report by ProPublica, and may be struggling with this volume of work.
The IRS was tasked with distributing a stimulus check to nearly ever American under the CARES Act — the fourth coronavirus relief package. The agency was chosen because it has access to the payment information Americans used for their tax returns. To make the process as fast as possible, they used the information from 2018 or 2019 tax returns.
For many Americans, this was not ideal. Some had moved and could not get a paper check sent to their old address. Others had changed banks and closed the account that they got direct deposit in last time. To compensate for all these discrepancies, the IRS created an online tool called Get My Payment, where Americans could enter their preferred banking information to get their stimulus check more quickly. However, that site has been plagued with reports of bugs and glitches, and many Americans say they have not gotten an update in weeks.
At the same time, some Americans rushed to file tax returns in the hopes that that information would help speed up the process of receiving their stimulus check. Unfortunately, the IRS needs to process those tax filings before issuing a stimulus check, so it could take even longer.
For updates on your stimulus check, visit the IRS' Get My Payment website. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic itself, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.