This post has been updated for 2016 (2015 tax year).
It’s January and other than frigid cold temperatures and seasonal mood disorder, you know what that means – tax season has arrived. This post will help get you in the mood and covers the 2016 tax deadline, filing start date, and extension deadlines for the previous calendar year’s taxes.
Also – stay tuned – in the coming weeks, I’ll be offering up some free tax software to readers!
When is the 2015 Tax Filing Deadline?
The IRS tax deadline is Monday, April 18, 2016 – for 2015 calendar year income. Since the normal deadline of April 15 falls on a Friday this year, there is a weekend extension to the following Monday (the 18th).
Tax Filing Postmark & E-File Deadline
The April 18 tax deadline does not refer to when the IRS receives your tax return. Instead, it refers to the date that the tax return is postmarked. So if you mail out your tax return on April 18 by U.S. mail and the IRS receives your tax return after that date, your return won’t be considered late. The same rule applies for e-filing your taxes. If you e-file your taxes, you must do so by April 18th as well.
When is the Tax Deadline if I’m Out of the Country?
Your tax filing deadline AND payment deadline, if you are out of country, is Wednesday, June 15, 2016. In other words, you will have an additional two months to file your taxes. Those eligible include:
- Those who live outside the United States and Puerto Rico and main place of work is outside the United States and Puerto Rico, or
- Those in military or naval service outside the United States and Puerto Rico (there is additional lenience for those in a combat zone, contingent operation, or who have been hospitalized).
If you qualify as being out of the country, you will still be eligible for the extension even if you are physically present in the United States. You must attach a statement to your return explaining which of the two situations qualify you for the extension.
Tax Extension Filing Deadline
If, for one reason or another, you are unable to file your tax return by the April 18 tax deadline, you can file for an IRS tax extension. Note that the extension must be postmarked by the April 18 deadline also.
Also, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
How to File a Tax Extension
In order to file a tax extension, you will need to fill out IRS form 4868. Note that filing the extension does not get you off of the hook, you still need to pay any estimated taxes by the April 18 deadline. If you don’t you will owe interest and possibly a penalty on your taxes owed.
The tax extension will allow simply to push back the deadline for sending in your 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ six months (4 months if you are out of the country). If you’re in country, the extended tax filing deadline is Monday, October 17, 2016 (since the 15th falls on a Saturday).
When Can I Start Filing Taxes?
You can start filing your taxes January 19, 2016 this year. You can start working on your taxes sooner – however, software companies will hold your returns and cannot submit them to the IRS electronically via e-filing until Jan. 19, 2016. Paper tax returns will begin processing at the same time. Your return will not be processed prior to, and you won’t receive your refund until after your return is processed.
I would strongly caution to not file a return sooner than January 19, because software companies will often update their software to take in to account any IRS changes.
After filing, you can always check your tax refund status to see where yours is at.
Where Should you File your Taxes?
Check out my list of the best and best & cheapest ways to Efile for more suggestions. Also, keep an eye out for an upcoming H&R Block promotion next week, where I will give away free tax prep software to readers!
Also, when it comes time to pay your taxes, I would recommend that you pay taxes online, as it is quicker, safer, and more reliable.
Want more tips? Check out my guide on the basics of how to do your taxes.
Tax Deadline, Extension, & Start Discussion
- When will you start preparing your taxes?
- Will you be filing a tax deadline extension this year?
- How are you preparing and filing your taxes this year?