April 15 is typically the last day to file your income taxes and pay taxes owed.
But normal and typical doesn’t seem to apply to anything these days, and this year’s tax season is no exception.
So the simple answer is, no, Thursday, April 15, is not this year’s federal income-tax filing deadline. The Internal Revenue Service pushed that date back to May 17.
Now, taxpayers face a unique series of deadlines that may or may not apply, depending on what they do for a living and where they live.
And yes, Thursday, April 15 is still a crucial deadline from some taxpayers.
In the face of this abnormal, easily confusing and highly imporant tax season when people need to be sure they are getting every last tax dollar they deserve, MarketWatch has compiled a list of the key dates from here out.
April 15: The first installment of estimated payments for 2021 are due
Most taxpayers pay their income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes when their employer withholds taxes on their paycheck. Gig workers, independent contractors, sole proprietors and other self-employed individuals have no employer, so they’ve got to pay the tax themselves. That happens through estimated payments, which are sliced into four installment payments.
Though the IRS postponed the income-tax filing date, it kept the 2021 estimated payment schedule intact and has received some criticism for not extending this deadline as well. In addition to April 15, estimated payments for this tax year are also due on June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 18, 2022.
May 17: 2020 federal income tax returns are due, as well as taxes owed
Monday, May 17 marks the date when taxpayers have to submit their 2020 tax return and pay taxes owed. The 2020 return is a taxpayer’s final opportunity to claim missed-out 2020 stimulus-check money. A taxpayer receives the money through the “Recovery Rebate Credit” and the money gets lumped in to person’s refund.
Here’s a longstanding caveat on the income-tax filing deadline: a taxpayer can receive an extension up to Oct. 15 to file their income-tax return. But if they owe taxes, the filing date is still the last day to pay without penalties and interest. If someone is unable to fully pay by the deadline, the IRS can work out installment plans.
May 17 is the last chance to shrink your 2020 tax bill through contributions to an IRA or Health Savings Account, and it’s also the final chance to file a 2017 return and claim a refund for that year.
Bear in mind that the May 17 deadline only applies to federal income taxes. Different states may have also copied the IRS and pushed back deadlines on their income taxes, but those dates will vary. As of earlier this week, 36 states have pushed their own tax deadlines to May 17, according to a list from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The IRS has already received 93.2 million returns as of April 2. The average refund is $2,893.
Beginning in May: Start of refunds based on returns readjusted for under the stimulus bill
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in March included a valuable tax break for people who received unemployment benefits during 2020. The relief bill said the first $10,200 received in benefits are not subject to federal income tax. The income-tax exclusion applies to households making less than $150,000 a year. The exclusion is $20,400 for married couples filing jointly.
By the end of February, there were 5.4 million people who already filed taxes and could have benefited from the exclusion, had it been on the books, according to IRS estimates. The IRS is automatically recalculating those returns and in May it will start sending any extra refunds based on those re-adjustments. The payments will be sent out through December.
A re-adjusted return for more money is welcome news, but taxpayers might want to see if the re-adjustment puts them in a position to claim even more tax money through an amended tax return.
June 15: Federal income tax filing deadline for Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma residents
In the wake of a February’s devastating winter storm, which sent temperatures plunging and utility bills soaring, the IRS pushed back the filing deadline for residents and businesses in these three states. The June 15 deadline also pushes back the estimated payments that taxpayers in this state would have otherwise paid on April 15, according to the IRS.
Louisiana and Oklahoma’s state income deadline this year have been extended to June 15. Texas has no state income tax.
Beginning in July: Payments scheduled to begin for expanded Child Tax Credit
Apart from the tax break on jobless benefits, the American Rescue Plan also temporarily boosted payouts under the Child Tax Credit. The credit is now up to $2,000 and $1,400 can get layered into a refund. The relief bill boosts the payout to $3,000 per children and the age limit now includes 17-year-olds. It also pays $3,600 for children under age 6. The credit is completely refundable too.
In addition to increasing the credit’s value, the bill said the IRS can advance those payments, starting in July, instead of paying families in a lump sum next tax season.
The IRS is working on an online portal where taxpayers can opt out of the advance payments or submit information on a household change, like reporting the birth of a child.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said this week the IRS is on track to send out monthly payments starting in July. “If we end up not being on track for some unforeseen situation, we will advise you and the committee,” he said during a Tuesday hearing, responding to a question from Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio.
At a Congressional hearing in March, Rettig said the IRS needed people to file their tax returns so the tax collection agency knew where to send payments.
Oct. 15: Deadline to file returns after receiving an extension
This is it, the time to submit a federal income tax return after receiving an extension. The IRS notes that the way to seek an extension is by filing Form 4868. People can do this via their tax preparer or tax software. It can also be accomplished through tax software available in the IRS’s Free File Program.