Deadlines and taxes — two of everyone’s favorite words as they stand on their own. When put together, they’ve been known to induce some sighs, shudders, and even the occasional groan. Whether you’ve been known to experience this tax-time trepidation yourself or you’re the type who eagerly looks forward to this time of year, tax deadlines apply to everyone equally.
No matter what end of the spectrum you land on, we’ve compiled a list of important tax preparation dates to help keep you on task and on track.
When can you start filing?
For the extreme non-procrastinators out there (teach me your ways), you may feel the itch to get tax preparation off your list the second the New Year’s countdown ends. While technically, you can file your return as soon as you have everything you need to do so, that doesn’t mean you’ll get a response in the same expedited fashion. Your employer has until January 31 to send out W-2s for 2017 earnings, and most 1099 forms must also be sent to earners by that date.
You’ll also be interested to know that the IRS started accepting electronically filed tax returns and processing mailed-in paper returns for the 2017 tax year on January 29. So if you mailed in your tax return the second the new year rolled around, it likely sat in the queue untouched until January 29 at the earliest. Due to this, according to The Balance, “there's no advantage in mailing a return any earlier instead of waiting to e-file.”
When are my taxes due?
For the rest of the population, you’re probably more interested in the other end of the spectrum — the last possible day you can file. Typically, that answer is April 15 of each year. However, this year is a little different for two key reasons: April 15 lands on a weekend and the following Monday is a holiday. When tax day falls on a weekend, the deadline is typically pushed out until the following business day. The following business day, in this case, happens to fall on Emancipation Day — a legally recognized holiday in the District of Columbia. So in a nutshell, this combination of circumstances results in two extra days for you to file, making the official 2018 filing deadline April 17.
What about extensions?
If you’re concerned about completing your tax return by the April 17 deadline, then you can request an extension. You can do so by filing a Form 4868 application (more information on this can be found on the IRS website). The extension still needs to be formally submitted by April 17, but that buys you an automatic 6-month extension. If accepted, you will need to get your return completed and postmarked by October 15, 2018.
It’s also worth noting that just because you’ve filed an extension, it doesn’t mean you won’t receive a penalty for filing late. You’ll likely receive a failure-to-pay penalty that you can learn more about via the IRS website, which can help you assess if the extra time is worth it for you.
When are quarterly tax payments due (for self-employed individuals)?
|If you are a self-employed individual or otherwise pay quarterly taxes, your payments must be postmarked by the following dates:
For more information on these due dates, visit turbotax.intuit.com.
When are refunds issued?
According to the IRS website, most refunds are issued in less than 21 days. You can always check the status of your refund by downloading the IRS2Go “Where’s My Refund” mobile app, starting 24 hours after they’ve received your e-file return or 4 weeks after they’ve received your paper return.
Should you call the IRS?
While most refunds are issued within the 21-day timeframe, some require additional time. According to the IRS, you should only call if it has been:
- 21 days or more since you e-filed,
- 6 weeks or more since you mailed your return, or
- when "Where's My Refund" tells you to contact the IRS
What to do if you’ve missed a date?
While the temptation may be to find the nearest rock and hide under it, the important thing to do is: a.) not panic and b.) file all tax returns that are due as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not you can pay in full, according to the IRS.
“You'll probably be hit with a moderate financial penalty, if only an extra interest charge, but the IRS should accept your money and your return and that will be the end of it unless there's another problem. And if you can't pay the tax you owe immediately? Don't delay. File your return anyway and immediately apply for an installment agreement. The IRS will let you pay over time as long as you make arrangements to do so.”
While everyone’s approach and opinion on filing taxes may differ, with tax season in full swing, it’s important to know what the deadlines that apply to you. This should help you to get a game plan in place — or at least serve as a reminder to start the process. Happy filing!