February 8, 2017: Within the last week, newly revised instructions for Form 7004 were posted to the IRS website. In the latest update, calendar-year C corporations are now granted an automatic six-month extension to file income tax returns by filing a timely Form 7004.
This is a change from the previous law issued under the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 where calendar-year C corporations had been originally granted a 5-month extension after the original due date of the return was moved to the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the tax year.
To reassure the tax professional community that the Form 7004 instructions were correct, the IRS issued a statement on February 7, which stated that the six-month automatic extension was granted under IRC § 6081(a), which supersedes the 5-month extension provided in IRC § 6081(b).
Therefore, for C corporations that have their tax year-end on December 31, 2016, if an extension is timely requested, the due date for the income tax return will be October 16, 2017.