Home Tax Tax Deadline

Tax Deadline

Tax Deadline

It’s that time of year again – tax season! The deadline to file your taxes in the United States is usually April 15th, however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for federal income tax returns has been extended to May 17th, 2021. This will give taxpayers an additional month to prepare and file their returns. In this article, we will delve into the tax deadline and its importance, as well as provide useful information on how to file your taxes, the consequences of missing the deadline, and what to do if you can’t pay your taxes on time.

What is the Tax Deadline?

The tax deadline is the due date by which taxpayers must file their tax returns and pay any taxes owed to the government. Taxpayers must also submit any outstanding payments such as estimated tax payments by the same deadline. If these deadlines are not met, the taxpayer may face penalties and interest charges.

The tax deadline is typically set for April 15th, but this may vary depending on the calendar year. However, this date can be changed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in exceptional circumstances, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the tax deadline was extended from April 15th to July 15th to provide relief to taxpayers during the pandemic.

Why is the Tax Deadline Important?

The tax deadline is important because it ensures the government receives the necessary funds to maintain public services. These services include roads, public transportation, education, fire departments, and police. Without these funds, the government would be unable to provide such services to citizens.

Filing your taxes on or before the deadline is important because failure to do so may result in a penalty. Penalties increase the longer you wait to file your taxes or to pay any taxes owed. These penalties can be substantial and can result in significant financial consequences for taxpayers. Filing your taxes on time also ensures that you receive any refunds owed to you in a timely manner.

How to File Your Taxes

There are several ways to file your taxes, including using tax preparation software, going to a tax preparer, or filing a paper tax return. You can also file your taxes electronically through the IRS website. The IRS recommends e-filing if you expect a refund or if you owe money. This method is quicker and more accurate than mailing in tax forms.

To file your taxes online, you will need a few items, such as your Social Security number, income statements, and tax documents from the previous year. If you need help filing your taxes, the IRS provides free tax preparation assistance through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. You can check if you qualify for this program by visiting the IRS website.

What Happens if You Miss the Tax Deadline?

If you fail to pay or file your income tax return by the tax deadline, the IRS may impose a penalty. This penalty is usually a percentage of the unpaid taxes. The penalty rate can increase the longer you wait to file your taxes or to pay the taxes owed. The maximum penalty is 25% of the unpaid tax liability.

If you cannot pay your taxes by the tax deadline, you can set up a payment plan with the IRS. This plan will allow you to pay off your taxes over a fixed period of time. To avoid penalties, you must file your taxes on or before the deadline and make timely payments on your payment plan.

What to Do if You Can’t Pay Your Taxes on Time

If you cannot pay your taxes on time, there are several options available to you. One option is to file for an extension. An extension will give you additional time to file your tax return, but it does not give you additional time to pay your taxes. You must still pay any taxes owed by the tax deadline to avoid penalties.

Another option is to enter into a payment plan with the IRS. This plan allows you to pay off your taxes over a fixed period of time. The IRS may also be willing to accept an offer in compromise if you are unable to pay your taxes in full. This means that you can pay the IRS an amount lower than your full tax liability to settle your tax debt.


The tax deadline is an important date that all taxpayers should be aware of. Failing to file your taxes or pay your taxes by the tax deadline can result in penalties and interest charges. To avoid these consequences, it is important to file your taxes on or before the deadline and pay any taxes owed. If you cannot pay your taxes on time, several options are available to you, such as filing for an extension or entering into a payment plan with the IRS. By following these steps, you can ensure that you remain in compliance with the tax laws and avoid any financial consequences.

A tax deadline is the last date in which a taxpayer can file a return with the taxing authority.  In the United States, all individual taxpayers and corporations must file their annual tax returns by April 15.  The tax return will cover the previous calendar year.  Most states also mirror the federal date, requiring that a state tax return be filed before April 15 alongside with the federal tax return.

While it is very important to get your tax returns in on time, there are some methods available to extend the time period you have to file your tax return.  But be cautious.  Tax payments cannot be extended and any late payments can result in fees, fines, or even jail time if the missed payments warrant serious action.


If you are unable to meet the April 15th deadline for filing federal or state income taxes, a 6 month extension is available to most taxpayers.  In order to receive this extension, you must file an IRS Tax Form 7004.  This form will ask you for your basic tax information and allow you to explain why you cannot file your tax return by the due date.  Most extensions of this type are granted, unless the IRS has reason to believe you are fraudulently attempting to avoid taxes.

Other extensions may also be available, if you can meet the requirements.  An IRS Form 2350 allows a U.S. citizen who is living outside of the country to extend their tax return if they believe they qualify for special tax treatment.

Corporations also have specific forms that can provide an extension of time for filing a return.  An IRS Form 1138 is a common form used by corporations who are expecting a net operating loss carry back.  This extension is granted when the carry back cannot be determined before the April 15th deadline.

Missing Extensions

Missing extensions can lead to serious fines, penalties, and legal consequences.  If you fail to file a tax return, file for an extension, and your tax return is late, you will be charged 5% per month that your return is not turned in, up to a total of 25%

If you have failed to timely pay your taxes, you will be charged is .5% of your tax obligation every month.  There is no limit, so failure to pay may lead to very large tax penalties if left unpaid.

Interest is also added on top of the above mentioned penalties.  The IRS will charge 4% per year for unpaid taxes.

Finally, if taxes are left paid for a significant amount of time, federal courts can charge a taxpayer with tax evasion, which can lead to additional fines, probation, or possibly prison time in the most serious of cases.