When Are Taxes Due? Tax Day & Federal Tax Deadlines 2020-2021

Tax Day is April 15, 2021. Read on for more about deadlines for extensions, quarterly payments and more.

Tina Orem, Kay BellOctober 22, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...
April 18 Isn't Just the Tax-Filing Deadline

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

When is Tax Day?

Tax day is April 15, 2021. This is the deadline to file your federal income tax return.

In 2020, tax day was July 15, 2020. It was originally April 15, but the U.S. government extended tax day due to the coronavirus outbreak.

When are taxes due if you get an extension?

If you request a tax extension by April 15, 2021, your tax return will be due on Oct. 15, 2021. (But know that a tax extension gets you more time to file your return, not more time to pay your taxes. Read more below.)

NerdWallet Guide to COVID-19

Get answers about stimulus checks, debt relief, changing travel policies and managing your finances.

Tax deadlines for quarterly estimated payments in 2020

The IRS requires quarterly estimated tax payments from many people whose income isn’t subject to payroll withholding taxes (usually the self-employed, independent contractors or people with investment earnings). For estimated taxes, the answer to "when are taxes due?" varies: The year is divided into four payment periods, and each period has its own payment due date.

In 2020, the IRS pushed the annual tax-filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, and that change also applies to some 2020 estimated tax payments.

Here's a look:

If you earned income during this period

Estimated tax payment deadline

Sept. 1 - Dec. 31, 2019

Jan. 15, 2020

Jan. 1 – Mar. 31, 2020

July 15

April 1 – May 31, 2020

July 15

June 1 – Aug. 31, 2020

Sept. 15

Sept. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020

Jan. 15, 2021

Six tax moves to consider before the tax deadline

1. File your 2017 tax return (yes, 2017)

If you were due a refund for the 2017 tax year but didn't file a tax return, you only have until April 15 (Tax Day) to submit that old Form 1040 and claim your money. So if you haven’t filed, get to work! Miss the tax deadline, and the U.S. Treasury gets to keep your money.

2. Max out your 401(k) by Dec. 31

  • Contributions to a traditional 401(k) reduce your total taxable income for the year.

  • For example, let’s say you make $65,000 a year and put $19,500 (the limit in 2020) into your 401(k). Instead of paying income taxes on the entire $65,000 you earned, you’ll only owe on $45,500 of your salary. In other words, saving for the future lets you shield $19,500 from taxes (and even more if you're 50 or older; read more here).

  • Many employers offer to match a portion of what you save, meaning that if you contribute enough to your account, you'll also nab some free money.

3. Contribute to or open an IRA by Tax Day

  • Contributions to a traditional IRA can be tax-deductible. See all the rules here.

  • You have until the April 15, 2021, tax deadline to contribute to an IRA, either Roth or traditional, for the 2020 tax year.

  • The maximum contribution amount for either type of IRA is $6,000 — or $7,000 if you're age 50 or older.

4. Contribute to your Health Savings Account

  • This medical account, available to individuals who have a high-deductible health plan, provides a tax-saving way to pay for out-of-pocket costs.

  • You have until the April 15, 2021, tax deadline to contribute to an HSA for the 2020 tax year.

  • The 2020 limits are $3,550 for an individual HSA owner and $7,100 for a family.

5. File for an extension by Tax Day (but still pay)

  • If you can't finish your return by the April 15 tax deadline, file IRS Form 4868. This will buy most taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file their tax returns. See more about how extensions work.

  • A tax extension gets you more time to file your return, not more time to pay your taxes. You still must pay any tax you owe, or a good estimate of that amount, by the tax deadline. Include that payment with your extension request or you could face a late-payment penalty on the taxes due.

6. When are taxes due in your state?

Be sure to find out when your local Tax Day is. Most taxpayers face state income taxes, and most of the states that have an income tax follow the federal tax deadline. Ask your state's tax department: When are taxes due? (And if necessary, ask: How do I get an extension?)

Some tax rules have changed due to coronavirus

Learn more about what's different for taxpayers as part of the federal government's response to the coronavirus.

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.