12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
Between due dates for paying estimated taxes, IRA or HSA contributions, and other deadlines, there's more to do by July 15 than just filing your federal income tax return.
Time is running out if you haven't filed your 2019 federal tax return yet. While this year's "Tax Day" was pushed back from April 15 to July 15 to give people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic more time to file a Form 1040, the day of reckoning is almost here. But filing your federal tax return isn't the only thing you should be thinking about on July 15 – it's an important date on this year's tax calendar for plenty of other reasons, too.
You might have to take some action by July 15 if you're saving for retirement or college, have a health savings account, or receive self-employment income. There are other reasons why you might have a tax-related deadline on that day, too. And, of course, overlooking a due date could cost you money – either in additional taxes, penalties, or interest. So, as a quick reminder, here are 12 tax deadlines for July 15 that you don't want to miss. Check them out to see if something unexpected applies to you.
Federal Income Tax Returns
Of course, the biggest due date on the tax calendar each year is the one for your federal individual income tax return. Like most of the deadlines on our list, it usually falls on April 15 but was pushed back to July 15 in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns. This year, you must file your return for the 2019 tax year – in other words, for the income you received from January 1 to December 31, 2019 (unless you're a fiscal-year filer, which is rare).
Use Form 1040 and the related schedules to report your 2019 income, adjustments, and credits. We recommend filing your return electronically – as opposed to using a paper form and mailing it in – because the return will be processed much faster (especially this year, since the IRS is experiencing coronavirus-related staff issues that are slowing down paper return processing). If you're getting a tax refund, you'll also get your money much faster if you e-file your return. Opting for direct deposit over a paper check will also speed up your refund. Plus, as an extra bonus, the IRS will pay interest on tax refunds from returns filed by July 15. The interest will generally be paid from April 15, 2020, until the date of the refund.
For do-it-yourselfers looking for an online tax software program that gives you a lot of bang for the buck, check out The Best Tax Software Values for 2020 to see which products offer the best overall value. If you're looking for a professional to handle your return, see our 5 Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer.
If you can't file your income tax return on time, you can get an extension until October 15. However, to get the extension, you have to request it by July 15. To make the request, either file Form 4868 or make an electronic tax payment.
Just remember that the extension to file your return doesn't extend the time to pay your tax. You still have to estimate the amount of tax you'll owe and pay your tax bill by July 15. If you don't, the IRS will charge you interest on the unpaid balance and tack on additional late-payment penalties.
For more information, including extension details for Americans living abroad and people serving in a combat zone, see How to Get an Extension for Filing Your Tax Return.
Estimated Tax Payments
Income taxes are collected on a "pay-as-you-go" basis. For employees, that means a little bit of income tax is taken out of each paycheck and sent to the IRS. But if you're self-employed (including independent contractors), you're responsible for making four estimated tax payments during the year.
Normally, the first two estimated tax payments for the year are due on April 15 and June 15, respectively. However, because of the pandemic, the first payment for 2020 isn't due until July 15. They are for the first and second quarters of the year.
Use Form 1040-ES to calculate and pay your estimated taxes. You can pay by check, cash, money order, credit card or debit card. There are also a few online payment options. To learn more about estimated tax payments, see When Are 2020 Estimated Tax Payments Due?
IRA Contributions for 2019
If you want to put more money in an IRA and have it count towards 2019 contributions, you have until July 15 to make that move. (Normally, you have until the tax return filing deadline for the year – typically April 15 – to make contributions for any given year.) For 2019, you can sock away up to $6,000 in an IRA – $7,000 if you're age 50 or older.
If you haven't already maxed out your 2019 IRA contributions, doing so before the July 15 deadline can be a smart move. First, contributions to a traditional IRA are often tax deductible, while withdrawals from a Roth IRA are tax-free. So, whether you contribute to a traditional or a Roth IRA, you can cut your tax bill now or in the future.
Low- and moderate-income people who contribute to an IRA might also qualify for the Saver's Credit, which can be worth as much as $1,000 ($2,000 for joint filers).
If you contribute to an IRA for 2019 by the July 15 deadline, you can claim the IRA deduction and/or the Saver's Credit on your 2019 tax return. That means you can get the tax benefits immediately, instead of waiting until next year if you were to contribute the same amount on July 16 or later.
Also note that you have until July 15 to withdraw any excess 2019 contributions to your IRAs (if you didn't request a filing extension). So, if you put in more than the $6,000 limit ($7,000 if you're 50 or older), take it out now to avoid stiff penalties.
Solo 401(k) and SEP Contributions for 2019
Self-employed people saving for retirement have until July 15 to put money away in a Solo 401(k) plan or Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA. If they request a tax return filing extension, the deadline shifts to October 15.
For 2019, a self-employed person can contribute up to $56,000 to a Solo 401(k) – $62,000 if he or she is age 50 or older. (Those amounts go up to $57,000 and $63,500, respectively, for 2020.) These amounts are so high because you can make contributions as both an employee and an employer, although the July 15 deadline only applies to the "employer contributions."
The SEP IRA contribution limit for 2019 is $56,000 ($57,000 for 2020). Only the employer can contribute to a SEP IRA, and whatever percentage of compensation employers set aside in the plan for themselves is the same percentage of pay they must contribute for each eligible employee.
Contributions to both Solo 401(k)s and SEP IRAs are deductible – at least to a point. Contributions made to a Solo 401(k) as an employer are deductible business expenses. However, the deduction can't be more than 25% of the compensation paid (or accrued) during the year to eligible employees participating in the plan. If you're self-employed, you must reduce this limit for contributions you make for your own account.
For a SEP IRA, the most you can deduct on a 2019 return for contributions to your or your employee's account is the lesser of (1) your contributions, or (2) 25% of the compensation (limited to $280,000 per participant) paid to the participants during the year from the business that has the plan, not to exceed $56,000 per participant. (In 2020, these amounts increase to $285,000 and $57,000, respectively.) If you contribute to your own SEP-IRA, you must make a special computation to figure your maximum deduction for the contributions.
HSA and Archer MSA Contributions for 2019
If you have a health savings account (HSA) or Archer medical savings account (MSA) as part of your health insurance plan, you have until July 15 to contribute to the HSA or MSA for 2019. As with contributions to IRAs, the deadline this year was originally set for April 15, but it was moved back to July 15 as part of the IRS's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
For 2019, you can contribute up to $3,500 to an HSA if you have self-only coverage or up to $7,000 for family coverage. (For other 2019 limits, see Health Savings Account Limits for 2019.) For an Archer MSA, you or your employer can contribute up to 75% of the annual deductible of your high deductible health plan (65% if you have a self-only plan), although you can't contribute more than you earned for the year from the employer through whom you have your HDHP.
You may qualify for a deduction on your 2019 tax return for contributions to your HSA or Archer MSA. If so, it might make sense to put more money into the account for 2019 before the July 15 deadline if you haven't already reached the contribution limit. That's especially true if you plan to make a contribution soon anyway. That way, you'll get that extra deduction for 2019 and save more cap space for 2020 contributions. That's a win, win!
Coverdell ESA Contributions for 2019
People saving for retirement or medical expenses have until July 15 to contribute to 2019 accounts – what about people saving for college? If you're using a Coverdell Education Saving Account (ESA) to squirrel away money for college, then you also have until July 15 to put more money away in the account for 2019.
With a Coverdell ESA, you can't contribute more than $2,000 for any particular child. Plus, if your modified AGI is between $95,000 and $110,000 (between $190,000 and $220,000 for joint filers), the $2,000 limit for each child is gradually reduced to zero.
There's no deduction for contributions to a Coverdell ESA. However, money deposited in a Coverdell ESA grows tax free, and there's no tax on distributions used for qualified college expenses. So, the earlier you get money into the account, the more time it has to grow before the child is off to college.
Payroll Taxes for Household Employees
If you employ a nanny, babysitter, maid, gardener or other household worker, but you aren't filing a federal income tax return (Form 1040), you have until July 15 to file Schedule H and pay employment taxes for your household workers. If you do file a tax return, include Schedule H with the return and report the tax owed on Schedule 2 (Form 1040), line 7a.
Both you and the employee may owe social security and Medicare taxes. You're responsible for payment of the employee's share of the taxes as well as your own. You can either withhold your worker's share from his or her wages or pay it out of your own pocket.
Your share is 7.65% of the employee's wages (6.2% for Social Security tax and 1.45% for Medicare tax). Your employee owes the same amount. (The limit on wages subject to social security tax is $132,900 for 2019, but there's no limit on wages subject to the Medicare tax.) Household employees also owe a 0.9% additional Medicare tax on wages exceeding $200,000 for the year. The additional tax is only imposed on the employee, but you have to withhold it from his or her wages and pay it to the IRS.
A household worker is only an "employee" if you control the details of how the work is done. However, workers you get from an agency aren't your employees if the agency is responsible for who does the work and how it is done. Likewise, self-employed workers are not your employees. A worker is self-employed if only he or she can control how the work is done.
Claim for 2016 Refund
According to the IRS, there are about 1.4 million Americans out there who didn't file a 2016 tax return but might have a tax refund with their name on it. If some of the estimated $1.5 billion of unclaimed 2016 refunds is yours, you only have until July 15 to claim it.
To get the refund, you have to file a 2016 tax return with the IRS. If you don't have/can't get W-2, 1099, or other forms needed to complete the 2016 return, you can get a wage and income "transcript" from the IRS that includes the necessary data from information returns received by the IRS. This information can be used to file your 2016 tax return.
There's a chance that you might not get all the refund money you're expecting, though. For example, the IRS could take your 2016 refund to pay taxes you owe for other years or to pay off certain other debts. For more information on claiming a 2016 refund, see Is There an Unclaimed Tax Refund Waiting for You?
Resume Payments to the IRS
Under its People First Initiative, which kicked off in March, the IRS postponed certain payments due under installment agreements, offers in compromise (OIC), and private debt collection activities to help people facing challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. However, starting July 15, payments to the IRS will resume.
Anyone who suspended installment agreement payments will need to restart payments beginning on the first monthly payment due date after July 15. If you had your bank suspend direct payments to the IRS, contact the bank right away to make sure payments are restarted in time. If you can't meet your current installment agreement terms due to a COVID-related hardship, you can revise the agreement online at IRS.gov/paymentplan or call the customer service number on your IRS notice if you have a direct debit installment agreement.
If you're were making payments under an OIC agreement, you should resume payments starting July 15. If the IRS is currently reviewing an OIC you submitted, but it hasn't accepted it yet, you should still start making required payments again on July 15. The IRS will amend your offer to allow you to pay any skipped payments at the end of the offer period, if the offer is accepted. If you are unable to make up missed payments, contact the number on the IRS notice to discuss your situation.
Taxpayers who had payments to private collection agencies suspended should also resume payments by July 15. The IRS encourages people to work with their assigned collection agency to establish a new payment arrangement or restructure an existing one based on their current situation.
Estate and Gift Tax Returns
You might have more to worry about on July 15 than income taxes. If you're the executor of an estate or made substantial gifts in 2019, you might have an estate or gift tax return to file, too.
For people who died in 2019, their estate is subject to the federal estate tax only if the estate is worth $11.4 or more. If the estate is subject to the tax, the executor is responsible for filing an estate tax return (Form 706) within nine months after the date of the decedent's death. If that none-month period ended between April 1 and July 14 of this year, then the return isn't due until July 15, 2020.
If you gave gifts to someone in 2019 totaling more than $15,000 (other than to your spouse), you probably have to file a federal gift tax return (Form 709). Normally, you have to file a gift tax return by April 15 of the year after the gift was made. However, for 2020, that April 15 due date has been pushed back to July 15.
State Tax Returns
You also might have more to worry about on July 15 than federal taxes. Unless you live in a state with no income tax, you probably have to file a state income tax return by July 15, too. (Perhaps a local tax return as well.)
Most states moved their tax return deadline to line up with the federal due date. However, there are a few states that picked different dates. For instance, the state income tax return filing deadlines in Idaho (June 15) and Virginia (May 1) have already passed. But in Hawaii (July 20) and Iowa (July 31), the state filing deadline is after the federal due date.
For other state tax deadlines – including those for extension requests, estimated payments, and returns for other types of taxes – check with the state tax agency where you live.