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Important Tax Due Dates & Deadlines – 2021 IRS Tax Calendar

Do tax deadlines seem to sneak up on you? April 15 isn’t the only important day on the tax calendar. There are a number of important tax deadlines throughout the year that may or may not impact you depending on factors such as whether you own a business, make estimated tax payments, or contribute to a retirement account.

This tax deadline guide should help you stay on top of those deadlines in 2021 and avoid penalties and interest. Grab your calendar or planner and jot down the dates applicable to you.

Q1 (Jan. – March): Getting Ready for Tax Filing Season

January 11

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during December should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

January 15

Taxpayers who make quarterly estimated tax payments should make their fourth-quarter 2020 estimates. It’s also a good time for anyone who didn’t have enough tax withheld from their income to make an estimated payment. You can use Form 1040-ES to calculate and mail estimated payments or use IRS Direct Pay to make a payment online with your checking account.

You don’t have to make this payment if you file your 2020 tax return and pay any tax due by Feb. 1, 2021. For farmers and fishermen and women, that deadline is extended to March 1 to avoid an estimated tax penalty.

February 1

Individuals who didn’t make their last installment of estimated tax by Jan. 15 can file their 2020 tax return and pay any balance due by Feb. 1 to avoid a penalty for late payment of their fourth-quarter installment.

For employers and vendors, this is the deadline to send W-2s to employees. It’s also the deadline for filing Form 1099-MISC and Form 1099-NEC with non-employee compensation payments in Box 7. This deadline applies to both the recipient and IRS copies of the 1099 forms, whether your file electronically or on paper.

February 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during January should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

February 16

If you claim an exemption from federal income tax withholding on Form W-4, you have until this date to file a new Form W-4 with your employer to continue your exemption for another year.

This is also the filing deadline for Informational Returns for businesses who report payments on Form 1099-B, 1099-S, or payments in Box 8 or 10 of Form 1099-MISC.

March 1

This is the deadline for paper filing of 1099 forms (other than 1099-NEC) with the IRS.

This is also the deadline to file for farmers and fishermen and women who did not make their fourth-quarter 2020 estimated tax payment on Jan. 15 to file their tax return and pay their balance due. If you wait until the April 15 deadline to file and pay, you may be charged a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax.

March 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during February should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

March 15

This is the deadline for partnerships and S corporations to file their 2020 calendar-year returns using Form 1065 or Form 1120-S. It’s also the deadline to provide each partner or shareholder with a copy of their Schedule K-1. You can request an automatic six-month extension of time to file your return using Form 7004.

This is also the deadline for filing Form 2553 to make an S corporation election for the calendar year 2021. If the election is made after this date, S corporation treatment will not begin until the calendar year 2022.

March 31

This is the deadline to electronically file Information Returns such as Form 1097, 1098, 3921, 3922, and W-2G with the IRS. It’s also the deadline for electronically filing 1099 forms (other than 1099-NEC) with the IRS.

Q2 (April – June): Tax Day & More

April 12

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during March should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

April 15

April 15 is the deadline to make your first-quarter 2021 estimated tax payment using Form 1040-ES.

Contributions to traditional and Roth IRAs for the 2020 tax year must be made by April 15, 2021. Self-employed people who contribute to a SEP IRA must make their contributions before filing their individual return — so, either April 15 or Oct. 15 if you requested an extension of time to file your tax return.

April 15 is also the deadline to open and fund a health savings account (HSA) for 2020. HSAs must be established by this tax filing deadline — without extensions — for the tax year in which your contributions will apply. So even if you extend your tax return, you will need to open and fund your HSA by this date. If you don’t have access to an HSA through your employer, you can open one through Lively.

For corporations, the deadline to file a 2020 calendar-year income tax return using Form 1120 and pay any tax due is also April 15, 2021. If you want an automatic extension, you can request one using Form 7004. Be sure you pay any estimated tax due for 2020 by April 15 to avoid penalties and interest.

April 15, 2021, is also the deadline for corporations to make their first-quarter 2021 estimated tax payment using Form 1120-W.

May 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during April should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

May 17

May 17, 2021, is the deadline to file 2020 Form 1040 and pay any tax due. Normally, the tax filing and payment due date is April 15, but the IRS granted taxpayers a one-month reprieve for the 2020 tax year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can file your tax return by either using a local tax preparer or by using tax prep software like H&R Block.

If you need more time to prepare a complete and accurate return, you can request an automatic six-month extension using Form 4868. However, you must still pay any tax you estimate you owe by May 17 to avoid penalties and interest.

If you paid cash wages of $2,200 or more to a household employee — such as a babysitter, nanny, housekeeper, or gardener — in 2020, May 17 is the deadline to file Schedule H and report any household employment taxes. If you file Form 1040, you’ll attach Schedule H to your return.

If you’re not required to file a 2020 tax return — for example, because your income is below the minimum amount required to file — you can submit Schedule H by itself.

June 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during May should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

June 15

U.S. citizens or resident aliens living and working outside of the United States and Puerto Rico have until this date to file Form 1040 and pay any tax, penalties, and interest due. You can request an additional four-month extension of time to file using Form 4868.

This is also the due date for second-quarter 2021 estimated taxes. Individuals can calculate and pay their estimated taxes using Form 1040-ES. Corporations can use Form 1120-W.

Q3 (July – Sept.): Partnership & S-Corp Extensions

July 12

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during June should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

August 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during July should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

September 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during August should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

September 15

This is the deadline for making third-quarter 2021 estimated tax payments. Individuals can calculate and pay their estimated taxes using Form 1040-ES. Corporations can use Form 1120-W.

For partnerships and S corporations that requested a six-month extension of time to file their 2020 return, this is the deadline to file that return and provide each partner with a Schedule K-1.

Q4 (Oct. – Dec.): Individual Extensions & RMDs

October 12

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during September should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

October 15

This is the deadline for individuals and corporations that requested a six-month extension to file their 2020 tax returns.

It’s also the deadline to make SEP IRA contributions if you filed a request for an extension of time to file your return.

November 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during October should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

December 10

Employees who work for tips and received $20 or more in tips during November should report them to their employer using Form 4070.

December 15

This is the deadline for corporations to make their fourth-quarter 2021 estimated tax payment using Form 1120-W.

December 31

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) must be taken by this date, as long as this is not your first RMD. RMDs were waived for 2020, and the minimum age to start taking RMDs went up to age 72. If you turn 72 in 2021, you have a three-month extension until April 1, 2022.

However, keep in mind that if you wait until after year-end to take your RMD, you’ll have to take two RMDs in one year in 2022. That could impact your income tax bracket or Medicare eligibility. The penalty for not taking a timely distribution is 50% of the amount of the distribution.

If you decide to convert your existing IRA or an old 401(k) into a Roth IRA, you have until Dec. 31 to make the conversion for the 2021 tax year.

Note that these deadlines apply to calendar-year taxpayers. Fiscal-year taxpayers may need to change some of these dates using the guidance available in IRS Publication 509.

Final Word

Many taxpayers scramble each year to meet the deadlines mentioned above. If last year’s tax season felt like a fire drill, this list should help you do better in the coming year.

Schedule reminders for the applicable deadlines now and file receipts and other tax records in an organized manner throughout the year. It will make dealing with tax deadlines and filing on time easier when tax season inevitably arrives.

If you need more help, be sure to check out our complete tax filing guide.

Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson is a Certified Public Accountant. Before leaving the accounting world to focus on freelance writing, she specialized in income tax consulting and compliance for individuals and small businesses. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and son and their rescue dog, Dexter.

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