As we celebrate warmer weather and growing supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, we'll also cheer for 32 extra days.

That’s the extension most individual taxpayers got last week when the Internal Revenue Service pushed its usual April 15 deadline for filing tax returns until May 17.

Massachusetts lawmakers were looking to change the state’s deadline, as well, to match the federal one, according to a statement issued by Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano.

The extension helps procrastinators, certainly, but it’s also expected to be a boon for seniors and members of minority communities who are eligible for federal stimulus payments but may be missing out because their information is not up to date with the IRS.

“The stakes have never been higher for people to file taxes, since filing taxes is the only way people can recover missing stimulus payments right now,” Jennifer Burdick, an attorney with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, tells The Washington Post. “... A lot of families don’t file taxes because their incomes are low enough that they aren’t required to do so. These are the same families that need the stimulus payments the most.”

People with all of their paperwork together — particularly those expecting a refund — are encouraged to go ahead and file. Most refunds are issued within three weeks, the Post reports.

People who drag their feet on filing to take advantage of the reprieve won’t be penalized or charged interest on the taxes they owe.

To be sure, the IRS didn’t float the American taxpayer extra time out of some deep sense of charity. Instead, the delay was triggered by a backlog at the agency due to a delayed start to the 2021 tax season and new rounds of COVID-19 stimulus, among other things.

But who among us couldn’t use a bit of a break? It makes spring’s arrival this past Saturday just a little bit sweeter.

 

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