When Is the Tax Filing Deadline?
The tax filing deadline for your federal taxes (and most state taxes) is April 15. If you are going to be cutting it close to the deadline with your tax return, it’s important to understand that the IRS checks the date your taxes are postmarked. If you file electronically, the IRS will check on the electronic time stamp on the return when it is received to ensure the deadline was met.
What if You Can’t Make the Tax Filing Deadline?
You can ask for an extension to file your federal taxes, also by April 15. Every taxpayer is entitled to a six-month extension, as long as the request is received by the IRS by the original tax deadline, for a new filing date of October 15. However, the most important issue related to requesting an extension is the date any taxes you may owe to the IRS are received. The six-month extension only applies to the tax return itself, not to any taxes you may owe to the government. That means you must estimate the amount of taxes you will owe and pay them before the April 15 deadline. Do not file for an extension only because you can’t pay taxes you owe by April 15; the IRS advises you to pay what you can and the agency will bill you for the rest later.
Consequences of Missing the Tax Filing Deadline
There are two issues involved with missing a tax filing deadline: failure to file and failure to pay. If the IRS doesn’t get your tax return by the first deadline or the extension deadline, you can be fined 5% of the unpaid taxes for every month or part of a month you are late, up to 25% of your unpaid taxes. If you don’t pay the taxes you are likely to owe, you can be fined one-half of one per cent of the taxes you owe for every month or part of a month you don’t pay, up to 25%. If you get hit with both fines, the maximum you will have to pay is 5%. There is good news, however: If you provide a reasonable explanation for missing either deadline, the IRS will waive the penalty. Beyond the fines, you will also owe interest on unpaid taxes, in 2015 about 3.5% compounded daily .