When are tax returns really due?

Rick Walter, CPA
Latest posts by Rick Walter, CPA (see all)

That is a very good question. I know; I’m complementing myself. The answer is actually very complicated.

If we are talking about individual tax returns, most people would say “April 15th” and they would be right. However…

You can file for an extension, and then most people would say “October 15th.” And they would be right. However…

Returns with refunds have three years from when they were due in order to get the overpayment refunded. So if you said “3 years”, then you would be right. However…

What if you weren’t ready by April 15th. And you filed an extension, so you had until October 15th. And you owed the IRS money? The answer would be both April 15th AND October 15th!! Bet you didn’t see that one coming!!

How can it be both? The taxes that you owe are due April 15th no matter what, and the tax return that you file is due October 15th. By sending in both the money and the return on October 15th, you are exposing yourself to a penalty. (I’m really not sure I should be using the words “Exposing” & “Yourself” in the same sentence).

Accountants would have a different rule if we ran the world. [ED. maybe a new blog??] We would divide up last names into five categories and your filing deadline would be either April for (A-E), May for (F-J), June (K-O), July (P-T) or August (U-Z); Sure glad I am a Walter – Hello August!!

Getting married and changing your name could get you an automatic extension on filing – being a Walter is looking even better!!

The important thing is to keep filing – we all have the responsibility to report our income and pay our taxes. So don’t worry so much about when to file them as much as just filing them.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

Author: Rick Walter, CPA

Rick Walter brings over 25 years of professional tax and accounting experience to Hutchinson & Walter. Specializing in small to mid-size business entities and start up organizations, Rick brings a deep understanding of the unique tax compliance and accounting issues specific to those entities.

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