March 17 (UPI) -- The Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday pushed back the date by which Americans must file their federal tax returns to give people more time to pay what they owe during the pandemic-related economic downturn.
The new filing and payment deadline is May 17, more than a month later than the traditional April 15 date.
"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said.
"Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to."
The Treasury Department made a similar move last year, pushing back the deadline to July 15. In April 2020, many states were still under stay-at-home orders implemented a month earlier, and millions of people had lost their jobs in the weeks prior.
The economy has seen a bit of a rebound in the year since, but millions are still without work and the Federal Reserve noted Wednesday there are still some sectors of the economy that have remained weak.
The potential extension also comes as the IRS handles an increasingly burdensome tax season complicated by changes implemented in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill signed into law last week.
Under that law, filers were given a tax exemption on up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits. This year's forms will also include ways for people to report missing stimulus benefits from last year. In some cases, people may have to refile their returns using new forms.