Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Today — October 15 — marks a tax-filing deadline for many people every year who have been granted extensions, but this year's rules and dynamics are very different.

Why it matters: The IRS was closed for months as a result of COVID-19, which meant that a lot of refunds got delayed, a lot of tax payments didn't get processed, and a lot of taxpayers (and accountants) got put on perma-hold or disconnected when they called to ask questions.

Where it stands: In March, the "Service" (as tax insiders call it) extended the April 15 filing deadline to July 15.

  • From there, people were allowed to apply for an extension to Oct. 15, which some taxpayers routinely do anyway. (Tax filers who live abroad can get their own extension until Dec. 15.)
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in June that he was considering a second extension in light of the ongoing pandemic, but ultimately opted against it.
  • Per Bloomberg Tax: "A second delay would be akin to the IRS giving an interest-free loan to individuals and companies that owe the government money. Mnuchin said the first three-month delay injected about $300 billion of liquidity into the economy."

What they're saying: "It's the tax season that never ended," Ryan L. Losi, executive vice president of the boutique, high-end accounting firm PIASCIK, tells Axios.

  • "If you filed anything in the 4th quarter of 2019 or the 1st quarter of 2020, that basically sat on people’s desks [at the IRS] when everything shut down during COVID."
  • After the CARES Act was signed on March 27, "you had this 1,000-page bill in the middle of tax season" to study, Losi said. "For about 45 days, it was all about PPP and learning the statute."

Go deeper

U.S. federal deficit soars to record $3.1 trillion in 2020

Trump and Mnuchin participate in a briefing at the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The U.S. budget deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year, according to data released Friday by the Treasury Department.

Why it matters: The deficit — which measures the gap between what the government spends and what it brings in through taxes and other revenue streams — illustrates the massive impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the economy.

Dave Lawler, author of World
13 mins ago - World

Special report: Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

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