Taxpayers are likely wondering why the federal government is extending the time to pay taxes, but not extending the time to file taxes. Filing an extension is an easy process and can be done very easily by practitioners electronically through their tax software. Taxpayers who do not use a tax preparer can go on-line to obtain an extension form.
Normally, requesting an extension requires the taxpayer to make a good faith estimate of any tax liability that will be due and making payment timely, by April 15. For state returns, the due dates may vary, but the same principle applies. By extending the time to pay, practitioners and taxpayers are also relieved of the burden to make a good faith estimate of their tax liability until the extended payment date, July 15 for federal returns. This can be particularly helpful at this time as necessary information to do the projections may not be available prior to April 15 due to the impact of the Coronavirus.
Note that few states have announced that they are extending payment deadlines. Those states that are extending payment deadlines may not use the same dates as the federal government.