When Is the Tax Deadline?


Editor’s Note: This article applies to most tax years other than 2019 tax returns filed in 2020. Read more about due dates for 2019 tax returns.

When someone mentions the tax deadline, most of us are thinking of a specific day in April. However, there are other important dates to keep in mind — from estimated tax payment due dates to extension filing deadlines.

Keep in mind, if a filing or payment deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the tax due date will be the next business day.

Standard Tax Deadlines

The date you need to pay your taxes by comes in mid-April for most taxpayers. If you make estimated payments, there are a few more estimated tax due dates you’ll want to remember.

Federal Returns Date

April 15, 2021 —  This is the due date for filing your 2020 federal forms and paying your taxes if you owe. Your 2020 return covers your taxes for the tax year ending on Dec. 31, 2020. This is perhaps the biggest date on the tax calendar, so don’t miss it if you can help it!

Need an extension? You can get an automatic six-month extension of your tax due date. You can submit Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File. This form must be postmarked on or before April 15. With the extension, your new tax deadline for filing your return will be Oct. 15. However, the IRS will charge you interest unless you make a payment that’s close to your tax liability and the remaining amount is paid with your return. Submit your initial payment with Form 4868.

Quarterly Payment Due Dates for Estimated Taxes

If you aren’t paying your income tax for the year through withholding or won’t pay enough tax that way, you’ll need to make estimated tax payments by certain due dates using Form 1040-ES. If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the due date is the next business day. To learn more, see Publication 505: Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.

  • Jan. 15 — Pay your fourth payment of your 2019 estimated tax by this due date. You won’t need to make the fourth payment if you file your 2019 return and pay the entire balance due by Jan. 31. If you can’t file and pay your tax by Jan. 31, file and pay your tax by 04/15/2020.
  • April 17 — Make the first payment of your 2020 estimated tax.
  • June 15 — Make the second payment of your 2020 estimated tax.
  • Sept. 15 — Make the third payment of your 2020 estimated tax.

When Are Taxes Due When You’re Abroad?

June 15 —  File Form 1040 and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due if you’re a U.S. citizen, resident alien or member of the military (on military duty) living and working outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

If you want to add some additional time to file your return onto your tax calendar, file Form 4868 to obtain four additional months to file. If you’re a member of the armed forces serving in a combat zone, you might be able to further extend your tax due date.

Learn more about expat tax due dates in 2020.

What Is the Tax Due Date for Filing Taxes With Extensions?

Oct. 15 — If you filed Form 4868 extending the due date of your return, this is the last day to file your tax return and pay any tax, interest, or penalties due. It’s also the last day for making many elections the IRS required you to make by the due date of your 2020 return if you had filed it on time.

Retirement Related Tax Deadlines

April 15 — It’s the last day to set up an IRA or make IRA contributions for 2020 tax year — even if you get an extension. Again, due dates for 2019 returns are July 15, 2020.

October 1 — It’s the deadline for establishing a SIMPLE IRA.

October 15 — For those who have filed an extension, it’s the last day for recharacterizing an IRA contribution for the year if you filed your return on time. Note that Roth IRA conversions for tax years 2018 through 2025 can’t be recharacterized as Traditional IRAs.

Additional Tax Related Dates and Reminders

Jan. 31 — W-2s are due from your employer. Forms 1099 are due from payers of interest, dividends, and other specified types of income.

Feb. 15 —  If you were exempt from income tax withholding for 2020, you must file a new Form W-4 to continue your exemption for the next tax year.

Tip earners — By the 10th day of each month, report the amount of tips of $20 or more you made during the previous month. You must report the amount in writing to your employers. This includes tips paid with cash, checks, and credit cards.

You can use Form 4070A in Publication 1244 or any other daily record to record your tip income for the month. If the 10th falls on a weekend or holiday, the due date is the next business day.

Farmers and fishermen — If at least 2/3 of your total gross income comes from farming or fishing, you should pay your required estimated tax using Form 1040-ES on or before Jan. 15. Then, you have until April 15 to file your return. You might need to file your return and pay your taxes on or before March 1 to avoid a penalty. Make sure to file by March 1 to avoid the penalty of estimated tax if both of these apply:

  • You farm or fish and at least 2/3 of your total gross income comes from these activities.
  • You make no estimated tax payments.

If you miss the March 1 tax deadline for filing due to severe weather or resulting power outages, you can request a waiver of any estimated tax penalties. You don’t have to be in a state or federally declared disaster area to receive the tax relief. To request the waiver, complete Form 2210-F: Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Farmers and Fishermen. You can file it with your return.

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