tax deadline

Tax Day 2021: When's the Last Day to File Your Taxes?

Like last year, the IRS pushed Tax Day back this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, Tax Day (the deadline for filing your federal income tax return) was pushed back from April 15 to July 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the IRS extended the due date again – this time to May 17. In addition to giving you more time to file your 2020 federal income tax return, the Tax Day postponement gave the tax agency more time to adjust its computer systems and forms to account for tax changes made by the American Rescue Plan Act – most notably, the $10,200 exemption for unemployment compensation received in 2020. (The IRS is already sending refunds for this new exemption).

If you're the victim of certain storms earlier this year in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana (February 11 storm or May 17 storm), Oklahoma, TennesseeTexas or West Virginia, you have even more time beyond the Tax Day deadline to file your 2020 federal income tax return (the exact date depends on the state).

If you have a federal tax refund coming, you could get paid in as little as three weeks. In the past, the IRS has issued over 90% of refunds in less than 21 days. To speed up the refund process, e-file your 2020 tax return and select the direct deposit payment method. That's the fastest way. Paper returns and checks slow things down considerably.

If for some reason you couldn't file your federal tax return on time, it's easy to get an automatic extension to October 15, 2021. But you had to request the extension by May 17 to qualify. (Later dates apply for storm victims in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia). Keep in mind, however, that an extension to file doesn't extend the time to pay your tax. If you didn't pay up by the May 17 deadline, you'll owe interest on the unpaid tax. You could also be hit with additional penalties for filing and paying after Tax Day.

And don't forget about your state tax return. Most states synch their income tax return deadline with the federal Tax Day – but there are a handful of states that have different deadlines. Plus, while most states adjusted their filing deadlines to May 17 or later, not all states did. Check with the state tax agency where you live to find out exactly when your state tax return is (or was) due.

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