Normally, individuals must pay their prior year’s taxes by April 15 or face penalties and interest charges. People can already get extensions through mid-October to file their returns as long as they have paid on time by mid-April. This decision would go further than that.

Extending the tax filing deadline would effectively act as a bridge loan for individuals and businesses facing disruptions from the virus. Treasury officials are still considering how far the filing deadline may be pushed back and who would be eligible for the extension, according to the person familiar with the discussions.

Officials believe they have the legal authority to waive penalties on late tax payments if they move back the filing date and are exploring whether they have the ability to waive the interest under an emergency disaster declaration.