When is Tax Day?
· Tax Day for the 2020 tax year is April 15, 2021.
· With an extension, the deadline to file your tax return for the 2020 tax year is Oct. 15, 2021.
· Filing after the deadline can cost you. The IRS can assess a failure-to-pay penalty worth up to 25% of your unpaid tax. And if your return is more than 60 days late, the IRS assesses a minimum tax penalty of $210 or 100% of the tax you owe, whichever is less.
Tax deadlines for making quarterly estimated payments in 2020
The IRS requires quarterly estimated tax payments from many people whose income isn’t subject to payroll withholding taxes (usually the self-employed, independent contractors or people with investment earnings). For estimated taxes, the year is divided into four payment periods. Each period has its own payment due date.
Payment period Tax deadline
Jan. 1 – Mar. 31 April 15
April 1 – May 31 June 15
June 1 – Aug. 31 Sept. 15
Sept. 1 – Dec. 31 Jan. 15, 2021
Six tax moves to consider before the tax deadline
1. File your 2017 tax return (yes, 2017)
If you were due a refund for the 2017 tax year but didn’t file a tax return, you have until the April tax deadline to submit that old Form 1040 and claim your money. So if you haven’t filed, get to work! Miss the 2021 tax deadline, and the U.S. Treasury gets to keep your money. In 2018, the IRS had more than $1 billion in unclaimed refunds waiting for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who hadn’t filed their 2014 federal returns.
2. Max out your 401(k) by Dec. 31
· Contributions to a traditional 401(k) reduce your total taxable income for the year.
· For example, let’s say you make $65,000 a year and put $19,000 (the limit in 2020) into your 401(k). Instead of paying income taxes on the entire $65,000 you earned, you’ll only owe on $46,000 of your salary. In other words, saving for the future lets you shield $19,000 from taxes.
· Many employers offer to match a portion of what you save, meaning that if you contribute enough to your account, you’ll also nab some free money.
3. Contribute to or open an IRA by Tax Day
· Contributions to a traditional IRA can be tax-deductible. See all the rules here.
· You have until the April 15, 2020, tax deadline to contribute to an IRA, either Roth or traditional, for the 2020 tax year.
· The 2020 maximum contribution amount for either type of IRA is $6,000 — or $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older.
4. Contribute to your Health Savings Account by April 15
· April 15, 2021, is the deadline to put money into an HSA for the 2020 tax year.
· This medical account, available to individuals who have a high-deductible health plan, provides a tax-saving way to pay for out-of-pocket costs.
· The 2020 limits are $3,500 for an individual HSA owner and $7,000 for a family.
5. File for an extension by Tax Day (but still pay)
· If you can’t finish your return by the tax deadline, file IRS Form 4868. This will buy most taxpayers six more months to file their tax returns. Some people may automatically have an extension (though not necessarily for six months). Click here to request an extension.
· A tax extension only gets you extra time to file your return, not more time to pay your taxes. You still must pay any tax you owe, or a good estimate of that amount, by the April tax deadline. Include that payment with your extension request or you could face a late-payment penalty on the taxes due.
6. When are taxes due in your state?
Be sure to find out. Most taxpayers face state income taxes, and most of the states that have an income tax follow the federal tax deadline. Ask your state’s tax department for its due dates and how to get an extension, if necessary. And if you live in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington or Wyoming, enjoy your totally state-income-tax-free status and focus on your federal filing.