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Key Federal Tax Deadlines In 2021

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Tax Deadlines 2021

2020 has been an eventful year for taxes, from extensions and exemptions to loans and stimulus checks. Wondering how all of those changes might affect your tax deadlines in 2021?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) normally starts accepting e-filed income tax returns and starts processing refunds in late January. It is important to note that although the 2020 tax season was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the IRS says there will not be a delay in this year’s 2021 tax season.

Also, please note that April 15 falls on a weekday in 2021, and it’s not a holiday this year, so the filing deadline for your 2020 personal tax return is indeed April 15, 2021.

Other dates have been announced, but they might be subject to change as 2021 starts.

Tax Deadlines in Calendar Year 2021

Here are important dates in chronological order. They include some additional to-do-by dates that might apply to you:

  • Jan. 11, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in December 2020 to report this income to their employers on Form 4070
  • Jan. 15, 2021: Deadline to pay the fourth-quarter estimated tax payment for tax year 2020
  • Feb. 1, 2021: Deadline for employers to mail out W-2 Forms to their employees and for businesses to furnish 1099 Forms reporting non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends, and distributions from a retirement plan
  • Feb. 1, 2021: Deadline for financial institutions to mail out Form 1099-B relating to sales of stock, bonds, or mutual funds through a brokerage account, Form 1099-S relating to real estate transactions; and Form 1099-MISC, if the sender is reporting payments in boxes 8 or 14
  • Feb. 1, 2021: Deadline for catching up on unpaid fourth-quarter estimated taxes without additional penalties by filing 2020 tax returns
  • Feb. 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in January 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • March 1, 2021: Deadline for businesses to mail Forms 1099 and 1096 to the IRS
  • March 2, 2021: Deadline for farmers and fishermen to file individual income tax returns
  • March 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in February 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • March 15, 2021: Deadline for corporate tax returns (Forms 1120, 1120-A, and 1120-S) for tax year 2020, or to request an automatic six-month extension of time to file (Form 7004) for corporations that use the calendar year as their tax year, and for filing partnership tax returns (Form 1065) or to request an automatic five-month extension of time to file (Form 7004)
  • March 31, 2021: Deadline for businesses to e-file Forms 1099 and 1096 to the IRS, except Form 1099-NEC
  • April 12, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in March 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • April 15, 2021: Deadline to file individual tax returns (Form 1040) for the tax year 2020 or to request an automatic extension (Form 4868) for an extra six months to file your return, and for payment of any tax due
  • April 15, 2021: Deadline for household employers who paid $2,200 or more in wages in 2020 to file Schedule H for Form 1040
  • April 15, 2021: Deadline for first-quarter estimated tax payments for the 2021 tax year
  • May 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in April 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • June 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in May 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • June 15, 2021: Deadline for second-quarter estimated tax payments for the 2021 tax year
  • June 15, 2021: Deadline for U.S. citizens living abroad to file individual tax returns or file Form 4868 for an automatic four-month extension
  • July 12, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in June 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • Aug. 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in July 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • Sept. 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in August 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • Sept. 15, 2021: Deadline for third-quarter estimated tax payments for the 2021 tax year
  • Sept. 15, 2021: Final deadline to file corporate tax returns for tax year 2020, if an extension was requested (Forms 1120, 1120-A, 1120-S)
  • Oct. 12, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in September 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • Oct. 15, 2021: Final extended deadline to file individual tax returns for the year 2020 (Form 1040)
  • Oct. 15, 2021: Deadline for taxpayers who earned $69,000 or less in adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax year 2020 to use Free File to prepare and file their returns
  • Nov. 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in October 2021 to report this income to their employers
  • Dec. 10, 2021: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in November 2021 to report this income to their employers.

The IRS had not yet announced 2021 filing dates for estates, trusts, gift tax returns, exempt organizations, foreign partnerships, and nonresident aliens as of October 2020.

Answers To Tax Frequently Asked Questions

What if I miss a tax deadline?

You’ll probably be hit with a financial penalty, if only an extra interest charge, if you don’t submit a return and any payment due by its appropriate deadline. The late filing penalty for a 1040 return is 5% of the tax due per month as of 2020, up to a cap of 25% overall, with additional fees piling up after 60 days. The IRS says you should file your return as soon as possible if you miss a deadline. If you owe taxes, pay them as soon as you can as well.

If you missed one of these key tax deadlines, you have options. Those options depend on what deadline was missed and whether you owe money or are due a refund.

If you miss the tax filing deadline and are owed a refund

If you overpaid for the 2020 tax year, there’s typically no penalty for filing your tax return late. However, you should file as soon as possible.

Generally, you have three years from the tax return due date to claim a tax refund. That means for 2020 tax returns, the window closes on April 15, 2024. After three years, unclaimed tax refunds typically become the property of the U.S. Treasury.

If you miss the tax filing deadline and owe tax

When you miss a tax filing deadline and owe money to the IRS, you should file your tax return as soon as possible. Every day your tax return is delinquent, the IRS typically charges interest, failure to file penalties and failure to pay penalties until you file your return and pay the balance due.
If you miss an estimated tax payment deadline

If you miss an estimated tax payment, make your payment as soon as you can. The penalties and interest the IRS charges depend on how much you owe and how late you are, but you can minimize the damage by making your payment as soon as possible.

What if I owe more than I can pay?

This year, many people are dealing with financial troubles due to the pandemic, job loss and other factors. If you’re one of them, you may not have the funds available to pay your tax bill by the April 15 deadline. But don’t put off filing just because you can’t afford to pay the amount due on the day you need to file your tax return. The IRS starts charging penalties and interest on the day the return is due, no matter when you file. You can minimize the failure-to-file penalties by filing as soon as possible, paying as much as you can when you file and setting up an installment plan for the balance.

What’s the fastest way to file my tax return?

The fastest way to file your tax return is to file electronically. E-filing your tax return to the IRS is more secure than paper filing. Because the tax return is electronically transmitted to the IRS, you don’t have to worry about it getting lost in the mail or arriving late. You’ll also get confirmation right away that the IRS received your return and has started processing it.

If you’re waiting on a tax refund, the fastest way to get your money is to have it electronically deposited into your bank account. The IRS typically issues 90% of refunds in less than 21 days when taxpayers combine direct deposit with electronic filing.

What if I need more time?

Don’t let a looming tax deadline force you to rush through the tax filing process and make a mistake on your return. You can file for an extension if you need more time to prepare and file your taxes.

Before the April 15 deadline, you must fill out and submit Form 4868, which is the Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form. At the time you file Form 4868, you must also pay what you estimate you owe in tax to avoid penalties and interest. If approved, this extension will give you an extra six months to file your taxes (or four months if you’re out of the country).

To qualify for this extension, you have to file the application before April 15, 2021. You will be notified if and when the application clears.

When are taxes due if I file an extension?

If you’ve filed Form 4868 and have been approved for an extension, you will have until Oct. 15, 2021, to pay any tax, interest and penalties.

If you already know that you’ll need an extension, file the application sooner rather than later. If anything goes wrong with the application, you’ll have plenty of time to fix it and submit again, ahead of the April 15 tax deadline. This will ensure you also have time to get your forms and documents together for your extended deadline in October. The IRS website has all the forms, deadlines and information you’ll need.

What if I can’t pay taxes?

File your return anyway and immediately apply for a payment plan if you can’t pay the tax you owe all at once. The IRS will generally let you pay over time, as long as you make arrangements to do so.

Go to IRS Direct Pay and have the payment debited directly from your bank account if you owe money and don’t want to send a check to the IRS via snail mail, risking the extra time that might entail.

What if I made a mistake and need to refile my taxes?

It happens. You file your tax return, then realize you forgot to report some income or claim a certain tax credit. You don’t need to redo your whole return. Simply file an amendment using Form 1040X.

IRS Form 1040X is a two-page form used to amend a previously filed tax return. Valor CPAs can walk you through the amendment process.

Valor CPAs has you covered

Many taxpayers scramble to figure out when taxes are due every year, but you can be confident that Valor CPAs is ready to help you file whenever you’re ready. If you have questions or would like free consultation, you can connect with a tax expert at Valor CPAs for unlimited tax advice here.

Something Wasn't Clear?

Feel free to contact me, and I will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.

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