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By Javier Simon
March 11, 2022
1040 Form In Front Of 2022 Calendar With Some Dates Marked
Money; Shutterstock

Taxpayers have a little extra time this year: The deadline to file your federal income tax return and make any payments owed is Monday, April 18, 2022.

The deadline is typically April 15. But that day lands on Emancipation Day this year, a holiday recognized by Washington D.C., so the tax filing deadline is pushed to the next business day. Residents of Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19 to file their returns due to the Patriots' Day holiday in those states.

Some taxpayers may have expected an even lengthier deadline extension. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the IRS to extend the deadline for filing 2020 taxes to May 17, 2021. But not this time around for most filers.

The IRS is extending the federal tax return deadline to May 16 for people affected by tornadoes in Tennessee, Illinois and Kentucky; as well as for people affected by wildfires in Colorado. You can find a full list of affected counties and details about eligibility on the tax relief in disaster situations page of the IRS’s website.

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What are the state income tax deadlines for 2022?

Most states set their tax-filing deadlines to the one set by the federal government. However, a few states have their own deadlines.

Here are some places where the state tax filing deadline for 2022 will not be the same as the federal deadline.

  • Louisiana: May 15

 

  • Delaware: May 2

 

  • Virginia: May 2

 

  • Iowa: April 30

 

  • Maine: April 19

 

  • Massachusetts: April 19

Keep in mind, these are subject to change, so always check with your state department of revenue for the latest details.

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Don’t wait until the deadline to file your taxes

Even though you have until April 18 to file your federal tax return, you shouldn't wait until the last minute. For starters, the sooner you file, the quicker you get your refund. The IRS typically sends out 90% of refunds within 21 days after people file electronically and link their bank accounts, according to the tax-filing software company Turbotax. However, this year may be slower. The IRS announced it is facing a backlog of about 20 million pieces of correspondence that are creating what the Biden administration calls the most challenging tax season in the agency's history.

Some Americans won’t be eligible for refunds, though. And if you owe taxes, filing by the deadline is even more important. Even if you request a deadline extension (more on that later), you must pay whatever you owe by the official deadline. If you can’t afford to pay in full, you can set up a tax payment plan with the IRS. Added interest and penalty charges may still apply. So if you can pay what you owe, you should do so as soon as possible. Or at least pay as much as you can to avoid hefty penalty and interest charges.

Eric Bronnenkant, head of tax at digital investment advisor Betterment, says another top reasons to file early is to avoid identity theft.

A fraudster can illegally file on your behalf and claim your refund. From there, Bronnenkant says it would likely be difficult to get it back.

One way to set up a defense against theft is to set up an identity protection pin number through the IRS. You would use this when you file. So even if thieves have all other personal information, they can’t take your refund without also knowing your pin.

Moreover, filing closer to the tax deadline can be an issue if you work with an accountant, as this is an extremely busy time for many tax professionals. Filing through an online tax-filing provider may be speedier. (To find one that works for you, take a look at our best tax software programs for 2022.)

As you know, it’s not always easy to gather all the paperwork you need to properly file your taxes. And 2021 maybe particularly challenging, as you may need to do some extra reporting if you received stimulus checks.

Businesses are required to mail out 1099s and W-2s by January 31, so you should contact any businesses that paid you last year if you haven’t gotten any tax documents from them by now. If that doesn’t work, try calling the IRS via 800-829-1040 for help.

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What to do if you can’t meet the tax deadline

If you can’t file your federal taxes by April 18, you can apply for an extension that pushes it to October 17 and clears you of late-filing penalties as long as you meet your new deadline. But you need to apply for an extension by April 18, 2022. You can do so by filling out Form 4868 or by working through an online tax-filing service.

Keep in mind that getting an extension to file doesn’t give you extra time to pay what you owe. After April 18, interest and penalty charges generally will begin to accrue on your unpaid balance until it’s paid in full.

According to the IRS, the interest rate is determined quarterly and is the federal short-term rate plus 3%.

If you owe taxes, fail to file on time and don't request an extension, you may face a failure-to-file penalty and a failure-to-pay penalty. The maximum total penalty for failure to file and pay is 47.5% of the owed tax, according to the IRS.

If you are eligible for a refund and you don’t owe any taxes, you don’t need to file for an extension. The IRS simply holds your refund longer.

But, Bronnenkant points out that you still may face some issues, because the IRS won’t have enough information about your income. If you delay filing, the agency might not know you’re owed a refund, so you may get an alarming letter in the mail stating you owe a late-filing penalty when you actually don’t.

“And you can only really fix that by filing your taxes,” Bronnenkant says.

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