For many people, just thinking about tax season is enough to give them a stronger allergic reaction than a springtime pollen-fest. Luckily for you, once you properly prepare and file, you’re golden! (Unlike those pesky seasonal allergies that seem to stick around for months on end. Not cool.)
But to make it to that glorious post-filing bliss, you’ve got to keep in mind the tax deadlines that apply to your situation. One thing is for sure—you don’t want to wait until the last minute to get organized. We get it, it’s annoying, but you’ll be able to head into the season breathing easy by getting ahead of these important dates.
Coronavirus: Changes to the 2020 Tax Season
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 tax season will be wildly different from any other in American history. That includes when your taxes are due. Here are some of the main highlights:
- The biggest change is that Tax Day has been moved from April 15 to July 15, 2020. That means you have three extra months to file your taxes and pay any taxes you might owe the federal government for the 2019 tax year.1
- If you pay quarterly taxes (also known as estimated taxes) on self-employment income, the deadline to pay your taxes for the first payment period (January 1 to March 31) has also been pushed back to July 15. However, the deadline for second quarter payments (April 1 to May 31) is still June 15. The deadlines for the third and fourth quarter of 2020 are still the same as usual, too.2
Now that we’ve talked about what’s different for this year, let’s take a look at when taxes are usually due just about any other year.
When Is Tax Day?
Normally, the big Tax Day for those filing personal and corporate federal tax returns is April 15. And (spoiler alert!) it’s the same date every year—sort of. The only time it gets tricky is if April 15 falls on a weekend or legal holiday. If that happens, then Tax Day falls on the next business day. This is also the last date to request a six-month extension if you can't file on the due date.
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For anyone snail-mailing their returns, it’s considered to be filed on time if the envelope is addressed correctly, has plenty of postage, and is postmarked and dropped in the mail on the due date. For those of you filing online, the date and time in your time zone when you click “submit” is what determines if your return is filed on time. Don't worry—you’ll receive an electronic confirmation that the IRS has accepted your digitally filed return. Hooray!3
For those living overseas or who are on military duty outside of the United States, you have an automatic two-month extension to get your taxes filed without needing to request one. So, you technically have until June 15 to file and send in payment without being hit with a penalty. But, of course, there’s a catch—you still have to pay interest on any owed taxes not paid by the original due date of April 15.4 (Whomp, whomp.) We recommend just getting ahead of the game and sticking to the April 15 deadline to avoid paying Uncle Sam any more than you absolutely have to.
When Is the Deadline to Pay Your Taxes?
Well, that depends on your filing status. If you’re filing an individual federal tax return, that’s easy. Your deadline to file and pay is usually April 15 (but like we mentioned earlier, that date is July 15 for the 2020 tax season).
If you’re self-employed, you’ll most likely pay estimated taxes four times a year (these are also known as quarterly taxes).
What Happens if You Can’t File by the Deadline?
If, for some reason, you’re not able to file by your tax due date, you can get a six-month extension by filling out Form 4868. Just make sure you do this by the deadline of your tax return due date. If you file late without an extension, you’ll pay a penalty that can be as much as 5% of your unpaid taxes each month up to a maximum of 25%.
Keep in mind—and this is really important—even if you’ve requested an extension to file, that doesn’t mean that you have an extension to pay. (Bummer, right?) You still need to send in your tax payment to the IRS on your file due date. The last thing you want is to get hit with a penalty for paying late, which can be between 0.5% and 25% of those unpaid taxes. No thanks!5
When Are Tax Extensions Due?
Tax extension due dates will depend on your file due date. Whatever your situation, we recommend you get your taxes filed sooner rather than later. It can make all the difference in how much you’ll end up having to shell out to Uncle Sam. If you need help filing an extension, turn to a tax pro. They’ll know the deadlines and procedures like the back of their hand and can walk you through the process.
What happens if you don’t file by the extension due date? You’re going to owe money unnecessarily—and that would be dumb. We want you to conquer Tax Day, not the other way around.
Get Your Taxes Right
Whether your taxes are pretty straightforward (yay!), make you feel like pulling out your hair (please don’t), or seem like one big mystery (hang in there!), our new tax quiz can help you find the best route for your situation.If you know your taxes are on the complicated side, take heart. Our tax Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) have years of proven experience and can help remove the headache and stress of filing so you can feel confident your taxes are done right!