When Are Taxes Due for 2021? — Tax Year Dates You Need to Know

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Tax season is full of questions concerning your wages, your claims, your filing status and how to report pandemic-related stimulus and unemployment payments on your returns. But even after those are answered, one burning question remains: When are taxes due?

Find Out: 8 New or Improved Tax Credits and Breaks for Your 2020 Return

You might not like paying taxes, but you certainly won’t like paying interest, late filing fees and late payment fees if you miss the deadline to file taxes for tax year 2020. The Internal Revenue Service has several deadlines to file taxes and pay your taxes due so it’s important you are aware of all applicable dates.

When Are Taxes Due?

For most taxpayers, the main income tax return deadline for 2020 tax returns is April 15, 2021 — aka IRS Tax Day 2021. You can file any time from now until April 15 (or April 17, if you live in Maine or Massachusetts).

The deadlines differ for individuals versus businesses, and it depends in part on whether you use a calendar year or a fiscal year. If you’ve already missed a deadline, file and pay your taxes as soon as possible to stop additional interest and penalties from accruing.

Estimated Tax Payments

If you have taxable income from being self-employed or have a business, you will need to make estimated tax payments throughout the year because you’re required to pay income taxes as you earn your income. Note that generally,  you should only expect to pay estimated tax if you think you’ll owe at least $1,000 in tax for tax year 2020.

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The following table shows the quarterly 2021 tax year dates for payment for self-employment tax and estimated taxes.

2021 Tax Deadlines for Estimated Taxes
Period Tax Filing Deadline
Jan. 1 to March 31, 2020 April 15, 2021
April 1 to May 31, 2020 June 17, 2021
June 1 to Aug. 31, 2020 Sept. 16, 2021
Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020 Jan. 15, 2022

Employees who receive W-2 forms generally meet the pay-as-you-go requirements through income tax withholding from their paychecks.

Learn More: How to Calculate Estimated Taxes

Tax Year vs. Calendar Year

Not all taxpayers use Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 as their tax year. Some use a fiscal year, which is a 12-month period ending on the last day of any month except December, according to the IRS. In general, companies are the only ones that use a fiscal year for tax purposes, but if you are an individual and you keep your financial records on the basis of an adopted fiscal year, you can apply to use the fiscal year instead. If you want to change your tax year, and thus your tax return due date, you must apply for that via the IRS.

Tax Deadlines for Individuals, Corporations and More

Here’s a quick look at the main tax dates for various groups including individuals, corporations, partnerships and S corporations.

Tax Filing Dates for Tax Year 2020: Individuals, Corporations, Partnerships and S Corporations
Tax Year Individual Tax Filing Deadline C Corporations Partnerships and S Corporations
2020 April 15, 2021 The 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the corporation’s tax year The 15th day of the third month after the end of the corporation’s tax year

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Most Important Tax Dates for Individuals

For individuals who use a calendar year as their tax year, here’s a quick look at important dates for your return.

Important 2021 Tax Due Dates for Individuals
Jan. 15, 2021 If you are required to make estimated tax payments, your payment for the fourth quarter of tax year 2020 is due on this date. Submit with Form 1040-ES Voucher 4 or pay online.
Jan. 31, 2021 If you are required to make estimated tax payments but do not make your fourth quarter payment by Jan. 15, you can avoid interest and penalties by filing your return by Jan. 31 and including payment for the full balance.
April 15, 2021 Deadline for filing and paying your 2020 income taxes. Most individuals use Form 1040.
April 15, 2021 This is also the deadline for requesting an automatic six-month extension to file your income taxes with Form 4868. However, this is only an extension for filing: You must still pay any tax due on time.
April 15, 2021 The first quarterly payment is due for individuals who must make estimated tax payments using Form 1040-ES.
June 15, 2021 Deadline for filing for individuals living or working outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
June 15, 2021 The second quarterly payment is due for individuals who must make estimated tax payments using Form 1040-ES.
Sept. 15, 2021 The third quarterly payment is due for individuals who must make estimated tax payments using Form 1040-ES.
Oct. 15, 2021 Income tax filing deadline for taxpayers who requested a six-month extension to file their returns. Returns are still filed with form 1040.
Jan. 17, 2022 The fourth quarterly payment is due for individuals who must make estimated tax payments using Form 1040-ES.

Although you can file for a tax extension, the extension only extends your income tax deadline to file. It doesn’t change your payment due date.

Paying what you expect to owe on or before tax day avoids interest and penalties. If you estimate too little, you’ll owe interest on the unpaid portion, but you won’t be charged late-payment penalties if you pay at least 90 percent of what you owe by the standard tax deadline and you pay the remainder in full when you file your taxes by the extended tax return date.

Be Aware: Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Own Taxes


Most Important Tax Dates for Business Owners

The following are the most important tax dates for businesses that use a calendar year as their tax year. If your business uses a fiscal year, taxes are due on the 15th day of the third or fourth month after the business’ tax year, depending on what type of business it is.

The dates for corporations are different from the dates for partnerships and S corporations because the partnership and S corporation income passes through to the owners of the business. Corporations, on the other hand, pay the taxes themselves.

Here’s an at-a-glance look at the most important tax dates for business owners in 2021:

2021 Tax Dates for Businesses
Feb. 1, 2021 Provide income statements to all employees, contractors and others who received payments from you, such as individuals you paid interest to. These statements are reported on Form W-2 or a range of Form 1099.
Feb. 16, 2021 Provide Form 1099s for all investment transactions, barter transactions, real estate transactions, substitute payments and proceeds paid to an attorney to the recipients of such payments.
March 1, 2021 File all W-2s and Form 1099s with the IRS that were previously distributed to payees.
March 15, 2021 Partnerships and S corporations must file and pay 2020 income tax. Partnerships file Form 1065 and S corporations use Form 1120S.
March 15, 2021 Partnerships and S corporations must provide each partner with a Schedule K-1 showing each partner’s portion of the income and expenses of the partnership.
March 15, 2021 Partnerships and S corporations can request a six-month extension to file, but this does not extend the time to pay any tax due.
April 15, 2021 Deadline for filing and paying corporate income taxes. Corporations file annual returns using Form 1120.
April 15, 2021 Corporations can request a six-month extension to file. However, this does not extend the time to pay any tax due.
April 15, 2021 First quarterly estimated tax payment for corporations due. Corporations can estimate their payment using Form 1120-W.
June 15, 2021 Second quarterly estimated tax payment for corporations due. Corporations can estimate their payment using Form 1120-W.
Sept. 15, 2021 Returns due for Partnerships and S corporations that filed for a six-month extension of time to file 2020 returns. Partnerships still use Form 1065 and S corporations still use Form 1120S.
Sept. 15, 2021 Partnerships and S corporations that extended the time to file must provide each partner with a Schedule K-1 showing each partner’s portion of the income and expenses of the partnership.
Sept. 15, 2021 Third quarterly estimated tax payment for corporations due. Corporations can estimate their payment using Form 1120-W.
Oct. 15, 2021 Corporations that extended the time to file must file annual income tax returns using Form 1120.
Dec. 15, 2021 Fourth quarterly estimated tax payment for corporations due. Corporations can estimate their payment using Form 1120-W.

Check Out: 9 Legal Tax Shelters to Protect Your Money

Whether you’re an individual or a business, be sure to stick to the applicable deadlines if you want to avoid paying interest and late fees — which can include a maximum 22.5% penalty for filing late and a separate penalty for paying late. The late payment penalty can be up to 25% of your unpaid taxes. The IRS advises that it’s better to file on time — even if you can’t pay in full — to avoid extra fees.

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Daria UhligGabrielle Olya and Sean Dennison contributed to the reporting for this article.

Last updated: Jan. 20, 2021

About the Author

Michael Keenan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance, taxation, and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by Quicken, TurboTax and The Motley Fool.

When Are Taxes Due for 2021? — Tax Year Dates You Need to Know
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