Tax Extension Deadline Information

March 25, 2021 : Monica Welsh

For many taxpayers, the tax deadline comes sooner than anticipated!

If you want to submit your taxes online, you must file your federal return by the tax due date before midnight your local time. If you e-file your return and your e-file isn’t successful, you have a new deadline to e-file taxes of five days until after the original due date to file an on-time return.

If you e-file a tax extension, it must be accepted by the deadline of midnight on May 17, 2021. If your extension is rejected close to the deadline, you’ll have five days to refile your extension, until May 22, 2021. Your mailed tax extension must be postmarked by May 17, 2021.

The IRS will always grant a tax filing extension until the due date of Oct. 15, 2021, if you follow the IRS process. However, this is an extension of time to file, not an extension of time to pay your tax due. Even if you file a tax extension by the IRS deadline, you’ll need to pay what you estimate you’ll owe with the extension to avoid interest and penalties for late payment.

Tax Filing Extension Deadline And Extending Tax Payments

If you’re not filing online, you can’t follow the deadline to e-file taxes. Instead, the IRS provides an automatic six-month extension if you request it. You must file a tax extension by the deadline of May 17, 2021. If the tax filing extension deadline is actively approaching, take note of these quick tips to complete your extended return in a timely manner:

  • If you filed for an extension through Form 4868, your time to file was extended but not the due date of your actual tax liability.
  • You’ll be required to pay interest plus penalties on the balance due if you didn’t pay at least 90% of your 2020 tax liability by the regular filing deadline. This applies even if you filed for an extension on time.

Tax Filing Extension Deadline in 2021

The exact due date for tax filing extensions for tax year 2020 is Oct. 15, 2021. The mailbox rule requires that your return is postmarked and sent by Oct. 15 in order to make the tax filing extension deadline.

When you file an extension, your tax return process might be a bit more complicated than most. It’s always a good idea to start gathering the items needed to prepare your taxes as early as possible. This includes any Form W-2s or 1099s you received throughout the year. Also, try to collect documents for the credits and deductions you want to claim, like mortgage interest, real estate taxes, or medical expenses.

Notes for Extended Filers

The tax filing extension deadline can’t be extended beyond the Oct. 15 deadline. That means if you still owe for 2020, this is your last chance to complete a return without significant interest and penalties.

Lastly, there are a variety of elections that must be made on a timely filed return (including extensions). Therefore, not only will you be assessed interest and penalties on a return filed after the tax filing extension deadline, you might miss out on the possibility to make an election that could improve your tax standing.

Our H&R Block tax pros are ready and waiting to help you complete your extended tax return by this year’s deadline, or to answer any questions about how to meet the upcoming e-filing tax deadline. Make an appointment with an H&R Block tax pro to get the timely, trusted advice you’re looking for.

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Monica Welsh

Monica Welsh

The Tax Institute, H&R Block

Monica is a tax research analyst in the Tax Institute. She specializes in the areas of business and investment. Monica is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law with a JD and an LLM in tax.

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