Tax time is officially upon us: The Internal Revenue Service began accepting and processing 2021 tax year returns on Jan. 24.
Whether you’re anticipating a refund or dreading the bill, you’ll want to mark some important dates on your calendar.
First, you should receive your W-2 forms in the mail soon if you haven’t already. You know, those little sheets of paper showcasing your wages and tax — all the money that’s been taken out of your paycheck.
The deadline for employers to send out W2 tax documents was January 31.
But you still have a few months to figure out how you’ll file your taxes.
This year, the IRS is giving most taxpayers until April 18, 2022 to submit 2021 tax returns or an extension to file and pay tax owed.
When are Taxes Due in 2022?
That’s when you need to file your 2021 tax returns.
Fun fact: The universal “Tax Day” is April 15. But the deadline was pushed to April 18 this year because of Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C.
There are a couple exceptions to the April 18 general tax filing deadline.
- Tax-filers in Maine and Massachusetts have until Tuesday, April 19 to submit their taxes this year because Patriot’s Day falls on April 18.
- Victims of tornados in Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky — as well as victims of wildfires in Colorado — have until May 16, 2022 to file and pay their taxes.
If those exceptions don’t apply to you, you need to e-file or postmark your individual tax return by midnight.
What Filing Form Should I Use?
You’ll need to use form 1040 and pay any taxes you might owe.
In the past, taxpayers could choose from two other forms — 1040EZ and 1040-A, but those forms were phased out in 2019 following an IRS overhaul of 1040.
So, that simplifies things. You no longer need to worry about picking the right tax form. Just file Form 1040 plus any schedules that apply.
If you’re using tax preparation software, like TurboTax, it will walk you through the entire tax filing process. The software will help you fill out all the fields and suggest whether you should itemize or take the standard deduction (most Americans go for the standard deduction).
The fastest way to get your tax refund is to file electronically and choose direct deposit.
“Filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is more important than ever this year,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a press release.
What About Stimulus Checks and Child Tax Credits?
If you received the advance Child Tax Credit, you should receive a letter from the IRS with information about how to file your tax returns — or how to claim the credit as a refund on your taxes.
However, the IRS isn’t expected to start issuing refunds for the Child Tax Credit before mid-February.
Did you miss out on the third stimulus check that went out in March 2021? You can claim that money at tax time.
If you didn’t qualify for a third Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amount, you can claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2021 tax return.
You must file a return to claim the credit, even if you don’t usually file one. The credit is based on your 2021 tax year information.
If you qualify, the Recovery Rebate Credit will reduce any tax you owe — or boost your refund.
3 More Tax Deadlines that Land on April 18
Besides filing your individual return, you need to do these things by the April 18 deadline:
1. File an extension.
Need more time to file your taxes? You need to file for an extension by April 18.
You find out more information about how to request an extension on the IRS website.
Reasons for extensions include emergencies, extended vacations, overloaded work schedules and utter unpreparedness.
The extension runs six months. If you opt for this, you’ll need to mark October 17, 2022 on your calendar. That’s your new deadline.
2. File your estimated taxes.
For the self-employed: You’re required to pay estimated taxes every quarter.
You must file these four times a year: The last payment for the 2021 tax year was due on Jan. 18.
The first payment for the 2022 tax year is due April 18, followed by other payments on June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 17, 2023.
3. Make final 2021 IRA contributions.
Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.