Federal Income Tax Deadlines

Important Due Dates for Filing Your 2021 Tax Return and Making Payments

important tax deadlines to know: these dates are subject to change slightly depending on the calendar year

The Balance / Catherine Song

Tax filing season can be stressful, but if you plan ahead, the process can be much more seamless.

Generally, April 15 is the official deadline for filing your federal income tax return each year, but that date isn't carved in stone. The deadline moves to the next business day when April 15 falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, and other national events can shift it as well.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) typically begins processing tax returns in late January of each year, but you can start filing as soon as you have all of the necessary paperwork together. In this guide, you'll learn all of the important dates to know in 2022 in order to ensure a smooth and easy tax filing process.

Deadlines in Calendar Year 2022

Deadlines for filing taxes typically fall within the same, general range. When it comes to filing your 2021 tax return, these are the dates you need to know about.

  • Receiving your W-2 Form: Your employer has until Jan. 31, 2022, to send you your W-2 form reporting your 2021 earnings. Most 1099 forms must be sent to independent contractors by this date as well.
  • Individual income tax returns: April 15 falls on a weekday in 2022, but it is Emancipation Day which is celebrated in Washington, D.C., causing all businesses and government offices to close. Therefore, the filing deadline for your 2021 personal tax return, or Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR is Monday, April 18, 2022.
  • Partnership and S-corporation returns (IRS Form 1065 IRS and Form 1120-S respectively): Returns for partnerships and S-corporations are generally due March 15. If you request an automatic six-month extension, though, this date is Sept. 15, 2022.
  • Corporation income tax returns (IRS Form 1120): For corporations, the due date is April 18, 2022. The extended deadline is October 17, 2022. The deadline for C-corp returns is typically the 15th day of the fourth month following the end of the corporation's fiscal year if the corporation operates on a fiscal year, rather than a calendar year.

As of Dec. 16, 2021, the 2022 IRS calendar does not include the filing dates and deadlines for: estate taxes, gift taxes, trusts, exempt organizations, certain types of corporations, foreign partnerships, or nonresident aliens. You can check the dates for each specific category in January 2022.

Deadlines Organized by Date

Here are important dates in chronological order if you prefer to just flip through and mark them on your calendar. They include some additional to-do-by dates that might apply to you:

  • Jan. 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in December to report this income to their employers on Form 4070.
  • Jan. 15, 2022: Deadline to pay the fourth-quarter estimated tax payment for tax year 2021.
  • Jan. 31, 2022: Your employer has until Jan. 31 to send you your W-2 form reporting your 2021 earnings. Most 1099 forms must be sent to independent contractors by this date as well.
  • Feb. 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in January to report this income to their employers. You can use Form 1070 to do so.
  • Feb. 15, 2022: Deadline for financial institutions to mail out Form 1099-B relating to sales of stock, bonds, or mutual funds through a brokerage account, Form 1099-S relating to real estate transactions; and Form 1099-MISC, unless the sender is reporting payments in boxes 8 or 10.
  • Feb. 28, 2022: Deadline for businesses to mail Forms 1099 and 1096 to the IRS.
  • March 1, 2022: Deadline for farmers and fishermen to file individual income tax returns unless they paid 2021 estimated tax by Jan. 18, 2022.
  • March 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in February to report this income to their employers.
  • March 15, 2022: Deadline for corporate tax returns (Forms 1120, 1120-A, and 1120-S) for tax year 2021, or to request an automatic six-month extension of time to file (Form 7004) for corporations that use the calendar year as their tax year, and for filing partnership tax returns (Form 1065) or to request an automatic six-month extension of time to file (Form 7004).
  • March 31, 2022: Deadline for businesses to e-file Forms 1099 and 1098 to the IRS, except Form 1099-NEC.
  • April 11, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in March to report this income to their employers.
  • April 18, 2022: Deadline for household employers who paid $2,300 or more in wages in 2021 to file Schedule H for Form 1040.
  • April 18, 2022: All individuals must file their 2021 personal tax returns, or Form 1040 or Form 1040-SE by his date. This is also the deadline to request an automatic extension (Form 4868) for an extra six months to file your return, and for payment of any tax due.
  • May 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in April to report this income to their employers.
  • June 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in May to report this income to their employers.
  • June 15, 2022: Deadline for second-quarter estimated tax payments for the 2021 tax year.
  • June 15, 2022: Deadline for U.S. citizens living abroad to file individual tax returns or file Form 4868 for an automatic four-month extension.
  • July 11, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in June to report this income to their employers.
  • August 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in July to report this income to their employers.
  • Sept. 12, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in August to report this income to their employers.
  • Sept. 15, 2022: Deadline for third-quarter estimated tax payments for the 2021 tax year.
  • Sept. 15, 2022: Final deadline to file partnership and S-corporation tax returns for tax year 2021, if an extension was requested (Forms 1065 and 1120-S).
  • Oct. 11, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in September to report this income to their employers.
  • Oct. 17, 2022: Final extended deadline (if previously requested) to file individual and corporate tax returns for the year 2021 using Form 1040 and Form 1120.
  • Oct. 17, 2022: Deadline for eligible taxpayers who earned $72,000 or less in adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax year 2021 to use Free File to prepare and file their returns.
  • Nov. 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in October to report this income to their employers.
  • Dec. 10, 2022: Deadline for employees who earned more than $20 in tip income in November to report this income to their employers

What If You Miss a Date?

You'll probably be hit with a financial penalty, if only an extra interest charge, if you don't submit a tax return and make any payment that is due by its appropriate deadline. There are two main penalties you may face:

  • The failure-to-file penalty for a 1040 return is 5% of the tax due per month as of tax year 2021, up to a cap of 25% overall, with additional fees piling up after 60 days.
  • The failure-to-pay penalty is one-half of 1% for each month, or part of a month, up to a maximum of 25%, of the amount of tax that remains unpaid from the due date of the return until the tax is paid in full.

Generally, interest accrues on any unpaid tax from the due date of the return until the date of payment in full. To avoid fees and required payments, the IRS recommends you should file your return as soon as possible if you miss a deadline.

How To File Electronically

You might want to e-file your late return if you haven't missed that deadline as well. Many taxpayers can e-file at IRS Free File if their AGIs were under $72,000 in 2021. Some other rules can apply as well, imposed by the individual software providers that participate in the Free File Alliance.

The IRS will accept e-filed returns until November. It will announce the exact November cutoff date sometime in October 2022.

What If You Can’t Pay Your Taxes?

Even if you cannot pay your taxes for one reason or another, file your return anyway, and immediately apply for a payment plan if you can't pay the tax you owe all at once. The IRS will generally let you pay over time, as long as you make arrangements to do so. 

If you can't pay your taxes in full, go to IRS Direct Pay and have the payment debited directly from your bank account if you owe money and don't want to send a check to the IRS via snail mail, risking the extra time that might entail.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if you miss an estimated tax payment due date?

You might not face any penalty for missing a payment during the year if you end up owing less than $1,000 for the year's quarterly estimated taxes, and if you settle that tax liability with your annual returns. Otherwise, you'll face interest charges until the quarterly payment has been made.

Are inheritance taxes due on the date of death or when the inheritance is received?

While some states do impose an inheritance tax, the federal government only imposes an estate tax. Estate taxes are imposed on the estate itself rather than on the individuals inheriting assets from the estate. Estate taxes aren't necessarily imposed on the date of death, but they will have been assessed by the time an heir officially receives assets.

How do you extend the tax due date?

Taxpayers can request an extension for their income tax return by filing IRS Form 4868. The extension must be filed by tax day, which typically falls on April 15.