It's no news that the current global pandemic has thrown an unprecedented wrench into the world's daily routine. Not only has it interrupted home, school, and work, but it's affected everything from concerts to conference meetings and morning workouts at the gym, too.
It's even affected Tax Day.
Last year, the IRS decided to push back the deadline for when taxes were due because of COVID-19, and they'll do the same this upcoming year as well. Federal taxes are now due May 17, 2021. Though that may seem like a relief, it's still business as usual. If you don't pay your taxes by this date, you will face financial penalties.
That includes both state and federal taxes. Not to worry, though. Most state income tax deadlines align with the federal deadline. That said, there are a few that do not.
Outlined below is the information you should be aware of regarding 2021 tax deadlines.
Things to keep in mind before filing your taxes for the year:
Filing and paying your taxes may seem complex, but there’s no need to panic. To aid you with filing your state and federal returns, here is a list of things to consider before getting started.
One: File your 2017 tax return.
Yes, 2017. Where tax returns are concerned, you are entitled to your refunds up to three years after a particular tax year. If you don’t claim them by then, they will expire and go to the US Treasury. So, for 2017, you must file before the new 2020 deadline. For 2020, the IRS will accept tax returns up until 2024.
Two: Max out your 401k.
A major perk of being part of a 401k – typically provided through your employment – is that by regularly contributing to this savings plan, you don’t have to pay taxes on your entire income, just a part of it. Your employer covers the rest.
Three: Contribute to or open an IRA by Tax Day.
An IRA is an individual retirement account. If you have one and actively put money into it, you may be entitled to tax deductions.
Four: File for an extension.
If you cannot complete and submit your tax files by the deadline, apply for an extension using IRS Form 4868. Do so as soon as possible. Approved extensions allow you six months of breathing room.
For tax extensions, the new deadline is October 15, 2021. However, it is crucial to note that an extension does not give you more time to pay your taxes. Instead, it just gives you more time to file them.
When are taxes due?
The deadline to file taxes is April 18, 2022.
If you are self-employed, the new deadline does not apply, and you will need to pay your taxes on the original date.
Regarding state taxes, most state taxes are due at the same time as federal taxes. Additionally, not every state implements taxes on goods and services; see below for more information.
Tax Day FAQs
What happens if I miss the tax deadline?
Options are dependent on the specific deadline itself. Prioritize the time to correctly fill out all the forms before the due date, so you’re not rushing and making errors at the last minute. Requesting an extension is also a good option.
Are there any changes for 2020 taxes?
Yes. To reiterate, because of the pandemic, Tax Day is now May 15, allowing for both taxpayers and the IRS to make the appropriate adjustments per the federal unemployment assistance that American taxpayers received.
How can I file my taxes online?
Filing your taxes online is secure and efficient in comparison with sending in physical paper copies. You’ll get confirmation that the IRS has received them much sooner – if not immediately – than if you were to send them the old-fashioned way. They don’t call it “snail mail” for nothing.
The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System is a no-charge service that Americans can use to file and pay their taxes. It was developed in conjunction with the Treasury Department to streamline the process.
When do I need to file my state taxes?
State income taxes are based on the income an individual earns while living in a particular state. Out of all 50 states, only nine do not have a state income tax, though they make up for it through other costs, such as property taxes. Those states are as follows: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. State tax rates are lower than federal rates.
Again, state income taxes are usually due per the federal government deadline. This year, that’s May 17, 2021. A total of 38 states changed their deadline to May 17. Hawaii did not extend its deadline. Iowa, Oklahoma, and Maryland all changed their deadlines to different dates, too. The first two are due on June 1 and June 15, respectively, and the latter is due on July 15.
When will I get my tax refund?
Typically, the IRS will send you your refunds within 21 days of filing online, so expect a notice sometime at the beginning of June. Paper returns may take longer.
Should you wait to file for your refund, you have up to three years after a specific tax year to claim it.
Where can I find help with my taxes?
eFile offers simple guides and calculators for determining how much you owe depending on certain variables such as having to care for dependents, children, or whether you’re entitled to additional deductions. Furthermore, eFile is based upon the information included on the IRS 1040 federal tax income forms. Form 1040 is the typical form that most U.S. taxpayers complete and does not require any private information or your social security number.
H&R Block and TurboTax are two other options, but these services cost more to use.
What if I owe more than I can pay?
Whatever you do, do not procrastinate filing your taxes. File them even if you cannot pay them right away. The IRS will eventually bill you for the taxes later, plus interest. The longer you wait, the greater the interest, penalties, and additional fees, too.
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