The 2019 tax filing season starts on Monday, Jan. 28. That's when the Internal Revenue Service will start accepting and, more importantly, processing tax returns.
While there's still some concern as to whether the IRS is up to the job this year since will be operating on half-staff (or fewer, according to reports that many recalled agency employees are skipping [unpaid] work) one thing is certain.
We taxpayers have to meet tax deadlines, government shutdown or no government shutdown.
So mark your calendars for this year's key filing dates.
Jan. 28, 2019: Filing season 2019 begins. If you filed early, either using Free File, tax software on your own with the help of a paid tax preparer, your returns that have been on hold should be sent and enter the IRS processing system.
Jan. 31, 2019: One reason you might not have filed already is because you're waiting for necessary statements with the information you need to enter on your Form 1040. (My earlier filing checklist post has more on many of these documents.) Today is the deadline for employers to mail their workers their W-2s and for 1099 forms to be issued with details of contract payments, investment income and retirement plan distributions.
Today also is important if you didn't make your last 2018 tax year estimated tax payment by Jan. 15. If you file your full tax return for the year by Jan. 31 and pay any tax due with the filing, you'll avoid any penalty for late payment of the last installment. This is a little less pressing this year, since the IRS has announced it's granting some underpayment leeway due to confusion created by the changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Feb. 15, 2019: For financial institutions, this is the day they must mail 1099-B forms with information on stock, bonds or mutual fund sales made through a brokerage account. Also due out today are 1099-S related to real estate transactions and some 1099-MISC forms.
Feb. 15 also is the earliest day that the IRS can issue federal tax refunds to filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the refundable part of the child tax credit.
March 15, 2019: This is the filing deadline for corporate tax returns submitted on Form 1120S and pay any tax due. It's also the deadline for the filing of partnership tax returns via Form 1065 or to file Form 2553 to elect to be treated as an S corporation beginning with the current calendar year. If the business can't meet the deadline, file Form 7004 to get an automatic extension to file (length of time varies according to entity and tax year selection) by today.
April 1, 2019: If you turned 70½ last year and didn't take your first required minimum distribution (RMD) from your tax-deferred retirement accounts (IRAs) then, you must do so by today.
April 15, 2019: This is the biggie for individual taxpayers.
It's the annual deadline to file individual tax returns for the prior tax year using Form 1040. Or, as with business filers, you can file Form 4868 by today to get an automatic six-month extension to complete your tax paperwork. Note, however, that this extension is just for filing your forms. You must pay by today any tax you owe or a good estimate of your due amount. If you don't, you'll face added penalty charges.
It's also the due date for contributions to self-employed SEP-IRA or solo 401(k) retirement accounts. However, if you get an extension to file your return, your opportunity to contribute to some self-employment retirement plans also is extended until Oct. 15.
And if you make estimated tax payments, April 15 is the due date for the first 1040-ES payment for the 2019 tax year.
April 17, 2019: If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, your federal tax return filing deadline is today. These two extra days to finish your 2018 taxes is because April 15 was Patriots Day, an official holiday in those two New England states. And since April 16 is Emancipation Day, an official holiday in the District of Columbia, the IRS headquarters there is closed, meaning Maine and Massachusetts filers get the extra, extra day.
June 17, 2019: This is the deadline for the second-quarter of 2019 estimated tax payment. It's normally on June 15, but that's a Saturday this year, so it moves to the next business day.
Today also is the deadline for U.S. citizens living abroad to file individual tax returns or file Form 4868 for an automatic 4-month extension.
Sept. 16, 2019: The third-quarter estimated tax payment for 2019 is due today. Just like happened with the second 1040-ES payment, this one usually due on Sept. 15 got pushed to the next business day because it fell on a weekend day.
Today also is the deadline for corporate taxpayers (those filing forms 1120, 1120A or 1120S) to file those returns if they got an extension back in March.
Oct. 15, 2019: The big day for filing procrastinators. Today is the deadline to file individual 2018 tax year returns that were extended back in April. The IRS will accept e-filed returns for the prior year through today, but if you miss it you'll have to send your 1040 via snail mail.
Today also is the last day that a self-employed individual who got an extension to file can open or contribute to a SEP-IRA or solo 401(k).
If you happen to miss a deadline, don't panic. Just file your paperwork or make your due tax payment as soon after the due date as you can.
You'll still face a penalty, but the sooner you stop it by filing and/or paying, the less of a financial hit you'll take.
To avoid that, mark your calendars now and make sure you meet the due dates that apply to your tax situation.
You can always check the ol' blog's right column, where at the start of each month I highlight some key tax deadlines and tax moves you should make.
Also, IRS Publication 509 has a complete list of federal tax deadlines for individuals, businesses and employers.
You also might find these items of interest:
- 5 tax tips for Free File users
- 4 filing tips to ensure you get your tax refund ASAP
- Some IRS online services, including ways to pay estimated taxes, are working despite shutdown