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Tax Day 2021: When's the Last Day to File Taxes?

Rocky Mengle, Tax Editor
·2 min read

Last year, the deadline for filing your federal income tax return was pushed back from April 15 to July 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even though the start of tax season is later than usual this year (February 12), the April 15, 2021, due date hasn't been changed for most people – at least so far.

Neither Patriots' Day, an official holiday in Maine and Massachusetts commemorating Revolutionary War battles, nor Emancipation Day, a holiday honoring the end of slavery in Washington, D.C., impact the tax filing due date this year, either. So, expect to have your tax return in by April 15 this year – that's Tax Day for 2021.

There is one exception. If you're a victim of the February winter storms in Texas and Oklahoma, you can wait until June 15, 2021, to file your 2020 federal income tax return. If there are other natural disasters between now and April 15, other Americans could have their filing deadline pushed back, too.

If you have a federal tax refund coming, you could get paid in as little as three weeks. In the past, the IRS has issued over 90% of refunds in less than 21 days. To speed up the refund process, e-file your 2020 tax return and select the direct deposit payment method. That's the fastest way. Paper returns and checks slow things down considerably.

But you won't get your refund before the first week of March if you claim the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit. Refunds for returns claiming these credits are automatically delayed as a security measure. This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with the credits.

If for some reason you can't file your federal tax return on time, it's easy to get an automatic six-month extension. But you have to act by April 15 to qualify (June 15 for Texans). Keep in mind, however, that an extension to file doesn't extend the time to pay your tax. If you don't pay up by the original due date, you'll owe interest on the unpaid tax. You could also be hit with additional penalties for filing and paying late.

And don't forget about your state tax return. Most states synch their income tax return deadline with the federal tax due date – but there are some states that have different deadlines. Check with the state tax agency where you live to find out when your state tax return is due.