When Are Federal Taxes Due? Important Deadlines and Filing Tips for U.S. Taxpayers

Navigating the world of taxes can be confusing, but knowing when federal taxes are due is crucial to avoid penalties and ensure a smooth tax filing process.


Navigating the world of taxes can be confusing, but knowing when federal taxes are due is crucial to avoid penalties and ensure a smooth tax filing process. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide essential information on important deadlines, filing tips, and what to do if you need an extension. So, let's dive in and answer the all-important question: when are federal taxes due?

Standard Tax Deadline

Under normal circumstances, the deadline for filing federal income taxes in the United States is April 15th of each year. This date is widely known as "Tax Day" and is the cut-off point for submitting your tax return and paying any taxes owed for the previous tax year. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

If April 15th falls on a weekend or a holiday, the deadline is extended to the next business day. For example, if April 15th is a Saturday, the deadline will be the following Monday, April 17th. This gives taxpayers a little extra time to gather their documents, complete their tax return, and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Tax Year 2020 and 2021 Deadlines

The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic relief measures enacted by the federal government led to some changes in tax deadlines for the tax year 2020. The filing deadline was postponed from April 15th, 2021, to May 17th, 2021, giving taxpayers additional time to file their taxes and make any necessary payments.

As for the tax year 2021, the deadline is expected to be April 18th, 2022. This is because April 15th is a Friday, and April 16th is a Saturday. However, it's essential to stay informed about any announcements from the IRS regarding potential changes to this date, as circumstances may shift depending on various factors.

Requesting an Extension

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes you might find yourself unable to file your federal taxes by the deadline. In such cases, you can request an extension of time to file by submitting Form 4868 to the IRS. This will give you an additional six months to file your taxes, extending the deadline to October 15th (or the next business day if October 15th falls on a weekend or holiday).

However, it's important to note that an extension to file is not an extension to pay. If you owe taxes for the year, you are still required to pay the estimated amount by the original deadline (usually April 15th) to avoid penalties and interest. The extension simply gives you more time to gather your documents and complete your tax return accurately.

Filing Options

There are several ways to file your federal taxes, depending on your preferences and the complexity of your tax situation. Here are the main filing options:

Electronic Filing

Electronic filing, or e-filing, is a popular and convenient way to submit your tax return to the IRS. You can use the IRS e-file system or a tax preparation software to complete and submit your tax return electronically. These systems often provide step-by-step guidance, making it easier to ensure accuracy and compliance with tax laws.

E-filing has several advantages over paper filing, including faster processing times, fewer errors, and instant confirmation of receipt by the IRS. Additionally, if you're expecting a tax refund, e-filing typically results in a quicker refund turnaround compared to paper filing.

Paper Filing

If you prefer the traditional route, you can still mail your paper tax return to the IRS. To do this, you'll need to download and print the appropriate tax forms from the IRS website, fill them out, and mail them to the IRS address that corresponds to your state. Keep in mind that paper filing can take longer to process, and there's a higher risk of errors or lost documents compared to e-filing.

Before mailing your tax return, double-check your calculations, ensure all required documents are included, and make a copy of everything for your records. It's also a good idea to use certified mail or a delivery service with tracking to confirm that your tax return reaches the IRS.

For more information on how to file your federal taxes, visit the IRS website at


In conclusion, knowing when federal taxes are due is essential for U.S. taxpayers to avoid penalties and ensure a smooth tax filing process. The standard deadline is usually April 15th, but it may be extended if that date falls on a weekend or holiday. For the tax year 2021, the expected deadline is April 18th, 2022. However, always stay informed about any potential changes announced by the IRS.

If you need more time to file your taxes, remember that you can request an extension using Form 4868, but you still need to pay any taxes owed by the original deadline. Finally, consider your filing options, whether it's e-filing for convenience and speed or paper filing for a more traditional approach.

By staying informed and organized, you can make the tax filing process less stressful and ensure you meet all the necessary deadlines. Happy filing!