There are few pairs of words which can cause feelings of stress and anxiety quite like "tax" and "deadline".
Most likely, you aren’t looking forward to the process of filing your 2019 taxes. Most likely, you don’t look forward to this task in any year—but it needs to be done. Whether you like to finish your taxes as soon as possible, or you put them off until the last day to file taxes, you need to know when you can file taxes in order to avoid costly penalties.
This article is going to offer important tax deadlines that relate to the 2019 tax year. You may not have to worry about each of these six deadlines, but it is a safe bet that at least one or two are going to apply to your tax situation.
So if you’ve been asking yourself "When do taxes have to be filed?", wonder no more—the answers can be found below. Let’s get started.
1. Personal Returns Are Due April 15th
This is the big one. If you have to file a personal tax return, and you probably do, that return will need to be filed by April 15th, 2020, in order to avoid potential penalties.
When can you file taxes? As soon as you have all of the necessary paperwork, although that doesn’t mean it will be processed immediately. In fact, you may not be able to e-file right away, as it is common for the IRS to wait until late January to formally begin accepting returns. If you expect a refund, you will likely want to watch for returns to be accepted and then file yours right away.
2. Final Estimated Tax Payment Due January 15th
Are you self-employed, or do you earn at least a portion of your income independently? If so, you may be required to pay estimated (or quarterly) taxes periodically throughout the year. The final due date for your last 2019 estimated tax payment will be January 15th, 2020.
It is important to make this final payment on time (along with the rest of the payments, of course) as you can incur penalties if your payments are late or insufficient. To determine with certainty whether or not you need to make estimated payments, you may want to consult with your tax professional.
3. Employers Must Mail Form W2 by January 31st
If you are a business owner who has employees, you must mail the W-2 to the employee by January 31st. This deadline is important, of course, as employees will not be able to proceed with their tax filing until they are given this form. It is a good idea to get started on this task as soon as possible in January to make sure there are no problems hitting this deadline.
4. Final Day for 401(k) Contribution is April 15th
401(k) contributions are one of the most popular tax deductions, but you have to make sure to play by the rules in order to obtain the maximum benefit. For one thing, you have to make sure the contribution is made prior to the tax filing deadline for the year in question. For example, if you want your tax contribution to count as a deduction in 2019, you’ll need to make that contribution no later than April 15th, 2020.
If you make automatic contributions through your employer, you will probably be done contributing when the end of the calendar year passes. However, if you choose to make deductions in early 2020, which you will apply to the 2019 tax year, that is acceptable. You can have your contributions made in early 2020 (before April 15th) marked for the 2019 tax year, or you can ‘save’ them to use next year.
5. State Taxes Vary by State
Do you live in a state which requires you to file a state income tax return? If so, you’ll need to confirm the specific date that you are required to file for the 2019 tax year. Many states match up their date with the federal return deadline, so you might have even more work to do by April 15th. However, some states opt for slightly later dates, giving you some extra time to finish up.
Either way, you should take the same advice we offered earlier for your federal return and get to work on your state return as soon as possible. As long as you are in ‘tax mode’ while working on your federal return, you might as well take care of the state return and put this matter to bed for another year.
As you can see, the answer to the question "When are taxes due?" is really a matter of which kind of taxes are in question. While most people know when personal returns need to be submitted (within a couple days, at least), some of the other tax deadlines are not as commonly understood. The calendar for taxes due in 2019 is similar to the years previous, but the exact dates may change slightly due to weekends and holidays.
Now that you have a clear picture of when taxes are due for the 2019 tax year, you can make your plans accordingly. The best way to take the stress out of tax time is to be prepared well in advance. Rather than sweating the deadlines, get this task out of the way early and move on to other things. When April 15th rolls around, you will be able to sit back and smile while others race to beat the clock!