The Department of Revenue today announced the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2020 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns and make final 2020 income tax payments is extended to May 17, 2021. This means taxpayers will have an additional month to file from the original deadline of April 15. The Internal Revenue Service also announced earlier this week it would extend the federal income tax filing deadline to May 17, 2021.
The IRS said in its announcement that the extension is another action the agency is taking to do everything it can to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Pennsylvania law, the deadline for filing state income tax returns is tied to the deadline set at the federal level.
“This is a positive step that provides additional time to Pennsylvania taxpayers, many of whom have been struggling during the last year due to the pandemic,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “The new deadline will be a benefit for many Pennsylvanians, including those who plan to meet with a tax professional for assistance with preparing their returns.”
To be clear, the extension means the Department of Revenue will waive penalties and interest on final 2020 personal income tax returns and payments through the new deadline of May 17, 2021.
Those who make estimated income tax payments should continue to do so on the same filing schedule that they would normally follow. This includes taxpayers with estimated tax payments due on April 15, 2021. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments.
Although the filing deadline for 2020 tax returns has been extended, the Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers who are able to file their returns electronically to do so as soon as possible. If you are expecting a refund from the commonwealth, filing electronically will help avoid a delay in the release of your refund.
myPATH a Free Option for PA Tax Returns
The Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to electronically file their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns with the department’s new, state-only filing system available at mypath.pa.gov.
myPATH is a free, user-friendly option that allows most taxpayers to seamlessly file the Pennsylvania Income Tax Return (PA-40) and make income tax payments, as well as offering other services.
Using the electronic filing option available through mypath.pa.gov offers many benefits, including:
- Fast and free return/refund processing
- The “Where’s My Income Tax Refund?” system to track the status of a refund
- Instant confirmation of a successful filing
- The benefit of error-reducing automatic calculators
- User-friendly options that are not available to taxpayers filing by paper
- The ability to view a detailed Statement of Account for personal income tax
Other Important Features in myPATH
Taxpayers do not need to create a username or password to perform many functions in myPATH. That includes filing a PA-40 or making a payment, responding to department requests for information, and checking the status of a refund.
In order to file the PA-40, taxpayers will need to provide their Social Security number and either: (1) the tax liability for a previous tax year; or (2) their birth date, Pennsylvania driver’s license/photo ID number and the expiration date for the license/photo ID.
If you choose to create a username and password in myPATH, you’ll have the ability to update/view detailed account information and notices. You can also manage third-party access to your account, meaning you can give a tax professional or another person access to file your return and make payments on your behalf.
A detailed list of instructions is available in the myPATH User Guide [PDF]. myPATH replaced the department’s previous personal income tax filing system, PA Direct File.
Electronic Filing for Free
Other free electronic filing options are available to file state and federal returns using software from a reputable vendor. More vendor information is available on the Department of Revenue’s website.
Electronic Filing for a Fee
Paid tax preparers and commercial tax preparation software providers offer electronic filing, or e-filing, for a fee. Check a list of vendors on the department’s website for further information.
May 17 Deadline
All taxpayers who received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2020 must file a Pennsylvania personal income tax return by midnight, Monday, May 17, 2021.
Filing for an Extension
If additional time to file is needed, taxpayers still have the option to file a request for an extension to file their Pennsylvania personal income tax return. The extension is available for up to six months, meaning the due date to file a return for those who request an extension is November 15, 2021. As an important reminder, an extension of time to file does not extend the deadline to make a payment if you owe taxes to the commonwealth, including applicable late-filing payment fees, interest and penalties.
PA Personal Income Tax Guide
Pennsylvania taxpayers who have personal income tax questions are encouraged to review the PA Personal Income Tax Guide, an online publication prepared by the Department of Revenue that includes detailed information on a number of PIT-related topics.
Taxpayer Service and Assistance
Personal income tax assistance is also available through the department’s Online Customer Service Center and by calling 717-787-8201 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Online Customer Service Center contains answers to hundreds of common income tax questions and allows taxpayers to securely submit a question to the department through a process that is similar to sending an email.
The Department of Revenue’s district offices are open in a limited capacity with social distancing guidelines in place. Appointments are required to receive in-person assistance. Please keep the following in mind.
- Taxpayer assistance hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Appointments between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. will be reserved for senior citizens.
- Taxpayers are required to wear a mask during appointments.
- Taxpayers should know that the Department of Revenue will be following health and safety guidelines established by the Department of Health to promote a clean office environment.
Taxpayers can check the status of their refunds online by selecting the Where’s My Income Tax Refund? link on the department’s homepage; or by calling 1-888-PATAXES. Taxpayers will be prompted to provide their Social Security number and requested refund amount to obtain the current status.
Free tax forms and instructions are available at www.revenue.pa.gov.