Trump administration weighs delaying April 15 tax deadline amid coronavirus outbreak

A view of an IRS 1040 Tax Form on a Laptop computer screen being prepared for an electronic filing.

The Trump administration is working on plans to delay the April 15 federal tax deadline for some taxpayers in a bid to soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. economy.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress on Wednesday that the administration is looking to provide relief for most individual taxpayers as well as small businesses.

Mnuchin said the administration believes a payment delay would have the effect of putting more than $200 billion back into the economy that would otherwise go to paying taxes next month. He did not indicate what the new deadline would be.

He told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the administration could grant the tax delay without having to go to Congress for approval. A formal announcement should come soon, he said.

In later comments to reporters, Mnuchin said that the delay would cover small- and medium-sized businesses and most individual taxpayers other than the very rich. He said Treasury will recommend to President Donald Trump that he approve the delay.

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Mncuhin said the delay would allow individuals to not pay their taxes by the April 15 deadline. The IRS would also waive interest payments or other penalties for missing the deadline.

Under current IRS rules, taxpayers can get an automatic extension on filing their tax return but they are required to pay tax on the estimated amount they will owe when they do file the return.