CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois is giving taxpayers extra time to file their income taxes this year, pushing back the filing deadline from April 15 to May 17, mirroring a change by the IRS for filing federal returns.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office announced the change on Thursday, after the Internal Revenue Service announced it was moving the deadline for filing federal income taxes until May 17.

READ MORE: Chicago Police Officer Released From Hospital After Being Shot In Shopping Center Parking Lot At North And Sheffield Avenues

The change in the state’s income tax filing deadline won’t apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15, which are based on either 100% of estimated or 90% of actual liability for 2021, or 100% of actual liabilities for 2019 or 2020.

State officials said the fastest way to receive any tax refund you might be owed is to file your return electronically, and sign up for direct deposit into your bank account.

“The filing extension for individual income tax takes effect automatically, so no further action is required by taxpayers to take advantage. For taxpayers awaiting a refund, utilize IDOR’s Where’s My Refund? to locate specific information about the status of any refund due,” Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris said in a statement.

You can file Illinois income tax returns for free at the state’s MyTax Illinois website.

Accountants had asked the IRS to push back the federal deadline given the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic for taxpayers and the IRS, which is still dealing with a backlog of tax returns from last year.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Pleasant Parade Weather Tuesday

The American Institute of CPAs this week had urged the IRS to delay the filing deadline, citing the impact of the pandemic on U.S. taxpayers as well as the tax agency itself, which is still trying to dig out of a backlog of returns from the last tax filing season. Lawmakers on Wednesday applauded the tax agency for the extension, calling it “absolutely necessary.”

“The practitioners have been saying, ‘We’re here, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that has been put in front of us,'” said Meredith Tucker, tax principal at accounting firm Kaufman Rossin. “It’s tough to think we will be under tax season for another month, but we need more time.”

Tax preparers have been assessing changes to the tax code, including last week’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which will impact issues ranging from taxes on unemployment aid to the Child Tax Credit, as well as loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.

The extra time applies to individual taxpayers, including those who pay self-employment taxes, such as sole proprietors and gig-economy workers, the IRS said. It added that individual taxpayers don’t need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for the May 17 deadline.

Given previous tax seasons, it’s likely that half of taxpayers have yet to file their returns, said Curtis Campbell, president of TaxAct. He added that even with the extra breathing room, taxpayers should still plan on getting their returns to the IRS sooner rather than later.

MORE NEWS: Indiana Attorney General Files Lawsuit To Crack Down On Harassing Robocalls, And Effort May Help In Illinois Too

“I would advise folks to still file as soon as they can, especially if they are in need of their tax refund,” Campbell said. “The IRS is doing all they can to help deliver quickly for consumers and getting them their latest updated information may help tax filers get their return and potential other future economic payments faster.”

CBS 2 Chicago Staff