Generally you can paper file your tax return on January 1st of the following year. But if, like most tax payers, you file an electronic return (e-file) you can only submit your return to the IRS in late January, which is when the IRS starts accepting electronic returns. For most people this time frame is sufficient since it takes a few weeks to receive employer income tax information forms (W-2), self employed and investment income statements (1099-MISC) or forms for any others sources of taxable income. The table below shows the latest filing deadlines for the coming tax year.
Tax Season Filing Key Dates and Deadlines
Tax Filing Deadlines
Tax Related Activity
|January 1||First day to file a federal tax return, though the IRS generally will not accept e-file and free file returns until the date below. Even paper based filings won't be processed till later in the month|
|January 27||IRS E-file to go live, allowing submission of electronic tax returns for the vast majority of tax filers. Paper tax returns will begin processing later in mid-February as IRS system updates continue (IRS recommends e-filing for faster refunds)|
|February 7||Date by which you should have received a W-2 from employers you worked for during the tax year. If not, contact their HR/Payroll department to resend tax documents|
|February 7||Deadline for 1099 statements (factors in your AGI income) that report non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends and distributions from a retirement plan. This date is also the deadline for self-employed individuals to file and pay in full their fourth-quarter estimated tax payment|
|February 21||Financial institutions (e.g Vanguard, Fidelity) must mail out 1099-B, 1099-S and 1099-MISC forms by this date. See what these forms are and if you will need one for your return|
|March 16||S Corporation and Partnership tax returns due|
|July 15||*Tax Day* Last day for filing federal income tax returns and extension requests. The date was extended due the Coronavirus outbreak. State tax filing deadlines have also been extended to this date.|
|July 15||Deadline for filing state income tax returns (for most states) and extension requests. Last day to make a contribution to a Traditional or Roth IRA, Health Savings Account (HSA), SEP-IRA or 401(k)|
|July 15||FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) forms due for taxpayers who have signature authority over $10,000 in total in foreign bank accounts in the prior year. Laws enacted last year change the standard FBAR due date to "tax day" (vs June 30th as in years past). No extensions are allowed and forms must be filed electronically.|
|September 15||U.S. citizens or resident aliens living abroad must file tax returns and pay any taxes due by this date (or file for a four-month extension)|
|October 15||Filing approved extended federal, state and S-Corp/Partnership income tax returns Note: you still need to file for an extension request by April 17th|
When can I expect my tax refund? In most cases if you e-file (see recommended providers) and use direct deposit, the IRS estimates that you should receive your federal refund between 8 and 14 days after they accept your return (i.e. the IRS does not send you a notification requesting additional information or an audit notice). Over the last few years the IRS has said that 90% of taxpayers got their refunds within 21 days. If you did not select the electronic deposit option, getting a paper check mailed to you adds about a week. If your return was filed by mail, then your refund can take up to 6 weeks from the date the IRS receives a complete and accurate return. Once your return is accepted by the IRS, the IRS processes your refund based on the IRS E-file Refund Cycle Chart. Exact refund dates are based on IRS processing times and can be found in IRS Publication 2043 and IRS Topic 152 for both e-filed and mailed returns.
How long will it take the IRS to process my federal return and send me my refund check? The IRS issued more than nine out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days and it expects the same results this year.
State refunds are processed by each individual state, so processing times will vary. As a general rule, you can expect your state tax refund within 30 days of the electronic filing date or the postmark date. To get the current status of your state tax refund, contact your state tax agency or search online for your state’s taxation website.