Ah, Tax Day. This date in April is often dreaded, but knowing when you need to file your tax return is key to avoiding potential penalties and maximizing your refund. In this post, we’ll go through everything you need to know about Tax Day and share some information about a topic you may find less unpleasant —when you can expect to receive your refund.
What is Tax Day?
This year, Tax Day falls on Tuesday, April 18. That date represents the deadline for submitting individual federal income tax returns. Typically, Tax Day is April 15. However, if that date falls on the weekend or holiday, it will be rescheduled for the next business day. This year, April 15 is a Saturday, and the following Monday, April 17, is Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in Washington, D.C.
While most people must file their federal return by this date, there are a few exceptions. Victims of recent natural disasters like mudslides and storms in California, Georgia and Alabama, for example, have until Oct. 16 to file their taxes. New York taxpayers affected by last December’s heavy snowstorms have until May 15 to file and make their payments. Some taxpayers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have received filing extensions until July 31 due to storms in those areas. Military personnel stationed abroad also get more time to submit their tax returns.
The IRS began accepting returns on Jan. 23, 2023. If you’ve waited until the last minute, know that your return will be accepted as long as it’s properly addressed and postmarked by April 18. E-filers have until midnight in their time zone to submit their tax return.
How did Tax Day start?
Tax Day was first introduced in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment, and March 1 was set as the deadline for submitting federal tax payments. In 1918, that date was changed to March 15. It wasn’t until the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 was passed that Tax Day became April 15.
The federal government may change Tax Day due to natural disasters or public health crises. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, led to Tax Day falling on July 15 in 2020 and May 17 in 2021.
What about state taxes?
State tax returns are usually due the same day as federal tax returns. However, some states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming — don’t have income tax, and New Hampshire and Tennessee only require that taxes be paid on interest income and dividends.
The state tax deadline for individuals in Iowa and Virginia is May 1, and taxpayers in Delaware have until May 2 to file their state tax returns. Louisiana’s state tax return deadline is May 15.
What about tax extensions?
To request a tax extension, you must file Form 4868 by Tax Day, April 18. If your request is accepted, you’ll have until Oct. 16 to submit your tax return. However, that doesn’t mean you can wait until that date to pay your tax bill; you’ll simply have more time to get your forms and paperwork organized. You’ll still need to estimate your taxes (more on that below) and pay that amount by Tax Day.
What are estimated taxes?
Some taxpayers should make quarterly estimated tax payments. These include self-employed individuals, such as freelancers and contractors, because their earnings are not subject to automatic tax withholding. Employees whose withholdings are not enough to cover their tax burden should also pay estimated taxes. If you’ve filed for an extension, you’ll also need to pay the estimated amount due by Tax Day, even if your tax return is not due until a later date.
To estimate your quarterly taxes owed, divide your expected annual income by four and pay that amount to the IRS. Or, use this IRS worksheet to annualize your income based on what you’ve earned so far this year, then use that prediction to estimate your tax burden.
For 2023, quarterly estimated tax due dates are:
- April 18 for Q1 (Jan. 1- March 31)
- June 15 for Q2 (April 1-May 31)
- Sept. 15 for Q3 (June 1-August 31)
- Jan. 16, 2024, for Q4 (Sept. 1-Dec. 31)
Additional tax deadlines and due dates for 2023
Tax Day 2023 (April 18) is the last day to contribute to your health savings account (HSA) for 2022. The yearly contribution limit is $3,650 for individuals and $7,300 for families. It’s also the last day to contribute to a Roth IRA or individual retirement account. The contribution limit for individual retirement accounts is $6,000.
If you contribute to a retirement account through your employer, like a 401(k), Dec. 31 is the deadline for making a qualified contribution. The limit is $22,500, or $30,000 if you’re 50 or older. If you’re required to take a required minimum distribution, Dec. 31 is the deadline for that as well.
When will I get my tax refund?
For individuals who filed on paper, it may take four weeks or longer to receive a refund. Refunds delivered through direct deposit take up to 21 days, but e-filers tend to get them faster. Tax refunds are sent via direct deposit every business day (Monday-Friday). However, if your refund is coming by check, you may receive it on a Saturday, too.
According to the IRS, the number of refunds issued is up from last year by 2.6%. Unfortunately, the average refund amount has decreased by 11% year-over-year and is now $2,903.
With a little planning and organization, Tax Day doesn’t have to be something to fear — and you may even get a significant refund when all is said and done.
If you’re looking to help clients prepare for Tax Day, read our guide to starting and growing your tax business. You can also browse our continuing professional education (CPE) courses to expand your accounting skill set.