As if everything to do with taxes were not confusing enough, changes in response to the COVID-19 crisis are head-spinning. The IRS has changed the 2019 individual tax filing and payment deadlines to July 15th and changed the 2020 estimated tax payments twice. Most of the states have changed their deadlines to match the IRS, possibly to avoid taxpayer confusion.
But not Virginia! I love living and working in Virginia but some of our rules are a bit inexplicable. We vote for state and local officials on odd years when everyone else votes on even years. We call ourselves a Commonwealth and almost everyone else is a State. And our normal individual income tax filing deadline is May 1st instead of the date that is normal for everyone else, April 15th.
For this filing season, it’s even better. Virginia’s Department of Taxation has announced that:
- Individual income tax returns for 2019 are still due to be filed by May 1, 2020. Taxpayers who are not ready to file by the deadline can get an automatic six-month extension to November 1st. No application is required to file on extension. Please see the Virginia Tax website for details.
- An extension to file is not an extension to pay. Usually, taxpayers need to pay by the May 1st due date to avoid underpayment penalties and interest. However, for the 2019 tax year, income tax extension payments must be made by June 1st to avoid late payment penalties or extension penalties.
- Any income tax payments due from April 1st to June 1st – for individuals or businesses – will be considered on time without penalty if paid by June 1st. Virginia Tax will automatically waive any late payment penalties as long as full payment is made by June 1st. If not, the penalty waiver will not apply, and late payment penalties will accrue from the original due date.
Virginia’s Department of Taxation is super strict about tracking taxes due and accruing interest and penalties. This tax season’s deadline changes will certainly catch some taxpayers by surprise, resulting in quite a few late filing penalties and underpayment interest. I doubt that they will accept date changes and deadline confusion as an acceptable excuse to remove those extra charges.
Bottom line, file or extend your Virginia 2019 income tax return by May 1st and pay anything you owe by June 1st. Don’t get caught up in all the deadline change confusion. Check the Virginia Tax website or your state’s website to make sure you know the latest updates on what you need to do this tax filing season.