When Are Taxes Due in the USA?
It was Benjamin Franklin who once said that nothing in this world is certain, except for death and taxes. Not quite 200 years later, April 15 was established as “Tax Day” in the United States. And ever since, procrastinating Americans have come to dread that day when Uncle Sam expects them to open up their wallets and pay up.
But how set-in-stone is that deadline? And are there any ways around it? In this Wealth Rocket article, we’ll answer the often-dreaded-yet-absolutely-necessary question: When are taxes due in the USA?
Table of Contents
When are taxes due in the USA?
According to tax law, April 15 is the official filing deadline for federal taxes, but there are exceptions if that date happens to fall on a weekend or holiday. In those cases, the federal tax deadline moves to the next business day.
For example, if April 15 is on a Saturday, taxes are due on the following Monday, April 17.
There are also ways to get federal tax payment extensions when necessary. By filling out Form 4868 on the International Revenue Service (IRS) website (where you can also find any other tax return forms you may need), you can get a six-month extension on filing your federal taxes.
But to receive this extension, you must file the form by, you guessed it, April 15.
Unfortunately, you will face a late payment penalty if you haven’t paid at least 90% of your total taxes due by that deadline—even if you do receive the extension. For this reason, form 4868 encourages you to make an estimated tax payment when filing for an extension.
If you’re wondering, “When are taxes due?” in your state, state taxes typically follow a similar pattern, with tax deadlines also due on April 15.
But there are, again, a few exceptions. For instance, there are currently nine states that don’t require income taxes at all, including:
- South Dakota
There are a handful of states, like Virginia, that have a slightly later filing date (in Virginia, that date is May 1st).
When Are Estimated Tax Payments Due in the USA?
Most employed US citizens have taxes automatically taken out of their paychecks all year long. When it comes to tax filing time, they expect a tax refund or plan to pay what they still owe. But either way, tax time comes just once a year for them.
Self-employed individuals and sole proprietors don’t have anyone taking their taxes out for them. So they face a few additional deadlines in addition to the April 15 filing date.
These individuals have to pay their own estimated taxes, due quarterly for each year on:
- April 15
- June 15
- September 15
- January 15
So, for 2021, estimated taxes would be due on April 15, 2021, June 15, 2021, September 15, 2021, and January 15, 2022, all for the preceding quarter.
To determine the amount of estimated taxes due and avoid facing an underpayment penalty come April 15, the IRS suggests using your income, deductions, and credits from the previous year. They also provide a worksheet, Form 1040-ES, to help estimate how much is due each quarter.
When Can I File My Taxes?
Filers eager to cash in on expected refunds may be chomping at the bit, wondering, “When can I file taxes?” as soon as the year begins. They’ll be glad to know that individual filers are welcome to start filing their taxes as soon they have all their income statements for the previous year (these must go out to the filers by the last day of January).
The IRS and individual states vary when they begin accepting and processing taxes every year (it was February 12 for the IRS in 2021, for instance, and January 27 in 2020). But you can file your return as soon as you are ready, and they will hold on to that return until they are ready to begin processing.
That said, you cannot legally file state or federal taxes for the previous year before January 1st of the current year.
How to File Your Taxes
Tax filers have a variety of options available to them when it comes to filing their taxes on time.
Filing taxes online
According to the IRS, 90% of people file and pay their taxes online these days. Now, that number likely includes those who have accountants or tax professionals who e-file for them, but there are also a large number of tax filers who use online software to file their taxes on their own.
Most Americans are aware of popular tax filing programs like Turbotax and H&R Block. These tax software products and services simplify the tax filing process by walking users through all the information they need to provide and asking questions that may help them get a larger refund. These programs usually require access to your bank account for any taxes due.
Of course, that assistance doesn’t come for free—these programs typically cost anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on a tax filer’s needs.
What most Americans may not realize is that for filers who make less than $72,000 a year, as well as those who are active military, the IRS provides access to free filing options.
Filing taxes with an accountant
Even with all the online filing options available, some tax filers still prefer to file with an accountant they trust. And that’s okay! In fact, a trustworthy accountant can save you a lot of headaches and potential problems down the line—especially if you have complicated tax filing needs (such as owning your own business).
Tax filers who choose to work with an accountant typically have two options: booking an appointment with any available accountant at reputable tax firms come filing season or forming a relationship with an accountant you communicate with throughout the year about your tax filing needs.
The former is good for people with relatively simple tax filing needs, while the latter may be better for those whose taxes tend to get a bit more complicated.
That said, tax season can get busy for accountants, so it is always good to find and make an appointment with the accountant you want to work with sooner rather than later. And don’t expect to get that help for free. Accountants usually charge an array of fees based on a tax filer’s various needs.
Our Final Thoughts
While plenty of Americans allow that looming April 15 deadline to bring them stress, there’s no reason to put a black mark on your calendar.
By keeping up with your taxes throughout the year (either through paycheck disbursements or quarterly estimated taxes) and by working with a tax filing software or accountant you trust, filing your taxes can be a relatively smooth process that takes no more than a few hours of your time.
And, if April 15 feels like an impossibility, the IRS is always willing to grant extensions to those who request them on time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Federal income taxes are due to the federal government by way of the IRS. These are due on April 15 of every year, unless April 15 falls on a weekend or holiday, in which case they are due on the following business day
State income taxes are due to the state you reside in the majority of the year (or any state you completed paid work in), except the nine states that don’t require income taxes at all.
Yes, every state has different income tax rules. There are nine states (Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Tennessee) that don’t collect income taxes.
Of the remaining states that do, every state collects a different percentage and has different rules regarding deductions. And while most states keep the same tax filing date as the federal government (April 15), there is a handful that delay that date by a few days or weeks.
If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $72,000 a year, or if you are active-duty military, the IRS provides several options for filing your taxes free online. According to the IRS, roughly 70 percent of Americans are eligible for these programs and could be filing for free online, but many eligible filers are missing out.Not sure if you fall into that 70 percent? No worries, the IRS is even willing to help you figure that outso you can pay your taxes in as stress-free a way as possible.