Topic No. 301 When, How, and Where to File | Internal Revenue Service

when to file

If you are a calendar year filer and your tax year ends on December 31, the due date for filing your individual federal income tax return is generally April 15 of each year. If you use a fiscal year (fiscal year ending on the last day of any month other than December), your return is due on or before the 15th day of the fourth month after the close of your fiscal year. if your due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is moved to the next business day. For the 2021 tax return, the due date is April 18, 2022 due to the Independence Day holiday in Washington, D.C. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 19, 2022 due to the Patriots Day holiday in those states.

Your return is considered timely filed if the envelope is properly addressed, has sufficient postage, is postmarked, and is deposited in the mail by the due date. If you file electronically, the date and time in your time zone when your return is transmitted controls whether your return is filed on time. You will later receive an electronic acknowledgment that the IRS has accepted your e-filed return.

if you served or are serving in the armed forces in a combat zone or contingency operation, or are hospitalized as a result of an injury sustained while serving in such an area or operation, after the end of your fiscal year but before your normal return filing due date, you may have additional time to file and pay taxes. he generally has at least 180 days after leaving the designated combat zone/contingency operation to file and pay taxes. See Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide. If the service determines that you are affected by a federally declared disaster, significant fire, or terrorist or military action, you may have up to one year after the due date of your return to file and pay taxes, depending on the date limit specified by the service. If you live and work outside of the United States and Puerto Rico or are in the military or naval service outside of the United States and Puerto Rico, you may qualify for an automatic 2-month extension to file and pay tax without filing Form 4868. request for automatic extension of time to file u.s. personal income tax return. You will be charged interest on any amount not paid by the regular due date through the date the tax is paid. see “what if you can’t file your return on time?” in the Model 1040 (and Model 1040-sr) instructions and the Model 4868 instructions.

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Extension to File – If you are unable to file by the due date of your return, you must request an extension of time to file. To receive an automatic 6-month extension to file your return, you can file Form 4868. File your extension request before your return is due. An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay, so you will owe interest if the tax you owe is not paid by the original due date of your return. You may also be subject to a late payment penalty for any tax not paid by the original due date of your return. For more information about extensions, see extension of time to file, what is my federal tax return due date or am I eligible to request an extension? and topic no. 304.

how to present

You may want to file your return electronically. Generally, you’ll receive your refund within 3 weeks from the date the IRS receives your return, even faster if you choose to have it deposited directly into your checking or savings account. Most professional tax return preparers offer electronic filing of tax returns with their return preparation services and may charge a fee to file your return electronically. Also, when you prepare your return yourself using tax preparation software, you may have to pay a fee to file your return electronically. however, you may qualify for free electronic filing through a free file. For more information about e-filing in general, visit E-Filing Options for Individuals.

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If you mail in a paper 1040 form or a 1040-sr form, processing can take six to eight weeks. make sure to attach:

  • a copy of w-2 forms and any other applicable forms (for example, form 2439, Notice to Shareholder of Undistributed Long-Term Capital Gains) in front of your statement.
  • schedules and related forms behind your return in the order of the sequence number located in the upper right corner of the schedule or form.
  • form w- 2c (a corrected form w-2) if you received it; attach a copy of your original forms w-2 and any forms w-2c.
  • form w-2g and form 1099-r if there was federal income tax withholding.

sign the return – to sign an electronic return see topic no. 255 and how do I sign my tax return when I file electronically?

To sign a paper tax return:

  • If you file a joint return, both spouses must sign the return. If your spouse is unable to sign due to a medical condition and you ask them to sign the declaration, sign your spouse’s name in the appropriate place, followed by the word “by,” then your signature, followed by the word “husband” or “wife”. be sure to also sign in the regular space provided for your signature. attach a statement that includes the form number of the return you are filing, the tax year, the reason your spouse cannot sign the return, and that your spouse has agreed to sign for him or her. if you are the guardian of your spouse who is mentally incompetent, you can sign your spouse’s declaration as “guardian.”
  • if your spouse cannot sign the declaration for any other reason, they can only sign if they have a valid power of attorney. You must attach to the return the document that grants you power of attorney. You may use Form 2848, Power of Attorney, and Declaration of Representative for this purpose.
  • If you are filing for a minor child who cannot sign the return, sign the child’s name followed by the word “by”, then your signature and your relationship, such as “parent” or “guardian of a minor child”.
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For information on how to file and sign a declaration for a decedent, see topic no. 356.

where to apply

When you file a return electronically, since it is transmitted electronically, you don’t need to worry about sending it to the correct area. however, when you file a paper return, send it to the address listed in the instructions for the form you are filing. See where to file paper tax returns with or without payment.

when you owe a balance: you can pay any balance you owe through irs direct pay. alternatively, you can enclose a check or money order with your paper return or, if you filed electronically, with form 1040-v 2021, proof of payment:

  • Make check or money order payable to “united states treasury”.
  • On the front of your payment, include your name, address, tax identification number (ssn, itin, ein), daytime phone number, tax year, and the type of form you are filing (for example, 2021 Form 1040).
  • attach your payment loosely with your return; do not staple or attach your payment or form 1040-v to your return.
  • do not mail cash with your return.

If you prepare your return using tax preparation software, refer to the instructions for your software to determine how to make the payment through the software. For detailed information on paying your taxes by credit or debit card, other electronic payment, or cash, visit our payments page. For more information on paying your taxes, see your form instructions and topic no. 158.

If you can’t pay your balance: If you can’t pay all of the taxes due on your return, the IRS can help you with a payment arrangement. For additional information on what to do if you cannot pay your income tax, see topic no. 202.

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