It’s coming down to the wire on taxes across the country, with Monday, April 18, marking the last day to file your income taxes — for most people, at least.
In a country as big as America with a tax code as complicated as ours, there are going to be exceptions to the rule. This year’s no different.
Maine and Massachusetts have a federal and state deadline one day later, while five states have different deadlines for their state income taxes. Certain areas recovering from natural disasters have their own deadlines.
Start with the basics: in most instances, Monday, April 18 is the last day to file federal income tax return and pay up any taxes owed. The deadline was moved because April 15, the traditional tax deadline, happens to be Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia.
A taxpayer who cannot pay in full by the deadline can arrange an installment plan, but the IRS says it’s a good idea to pay whatever amount of estimated taxes you think you owe. That can shrink the amounts a person will have to pay in interest and penalties on the remainder.
April 18 is also generally the last day to make an extension request. Submitting an extension gives taxpayers until Oct. 17 to file the return. It does not allow more time to pay a tax bill — and experts note a “failure to file” penalty is steeper than a “failure to pay” penalty.
More than half of people (54%) thought the extension bought them more time to pay, according to a 1,000-person survey Jackson Hewitt conducted earlier this month. Learn more from the IRS on filing an extension here.
Now for the tax twists.
Thanks to the April 18 observance of Patriots’ Day, Maine and Massachusetts residents have until April 19 to file and pay their federal and state taxes.
Iowa residents have until April 30 to file their state taxes.
When a taxpayer (or the professional they’ve hired) is figuring out state tax obligations, the calculation is typically dependent on the information first gathered in a federal tax return, said Sarah Shannonhouse, Manager for Tax Practice & Ethics with the American Institute of CPAs. States can use different federal income categories as a basis and they can apply different taxes, deductions or credits, which all may require additional information, she noted.
“For those taxpayers that may be waiting on additional state information to complete their returns, it might make sense to go ahead and file the federal return and file an extension for state tax purposes until a full and accurate return can be completed,” Shannonhouse said. She reiterated the point that extensions do not give taxpayers more time to pay up.
The IRS is also giving more filing time to people who are recovering from natural disasters. This year, people in certain areas of Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee recovering from late 2021 tornadoes and flooding have until May 16 to file and pay their income taxes. The Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee announcements, identifying the counties getting the deadline relief, can be found here, here and here.
Certain Colorado taxpayers have the same May 16 deadline in the wake of wildfires and people in Puerto Rico recovering from floods have until June 15.
As of early April, the IRS had received 91.2 million individual income tax returns and issued 63.3 million refunds. The tax agency’s numbers showed the size of the average refund check was $3,226, an 11.5% increase from the average refund issued at the same point last year.
The rise could be due to the payouts coming from pandemic-related tax provisions that applied for 2021, experts say — which is all the more reason for people to focus on their tax return and the cash they are entitled to claim.