Your tax filings are always due April 15, or the first business day thereafter if April 15 falls on a weekend or holiday. That said, even though April 15 is the hard and fast deadline for filing, you don’t have to wait until the day your taxes are due. If you have all of your paperwork in order, you can file your taxes well before the deadline.
In some cases, you can file your taxes after the deadline without paying a penalty, but only if you file for an extension first. If you’re given an extension, your new deadline will be October 15.
Extensions can be granted for a number of reasons, including:
- Incomplete tax documentation: Let’s say you misplaced a W-2 and don’t have everything you need to file. Don’t freak out; the IRS will work with you to extend the deadline. It’s important to file on time, but it’s even more important to ensure your tax filings are accurate, so if you need extra time, just ask.
- Unexpected life events: Life happens. People get sick, disasters occur, and sometimes those unexpected events force us to put things like taxes on the backburner. Luckily, you can get an extension due to unexpected life events if you file for one.
- Strategic extensions: It’s not uncommon to file an extension to do things like recharacterize your Roth IRA to a traditional IRA before your taxes are due to avoid paying taxes on the balance. It’s also not uncommon to file a strategic extension if you owe money to the IRS and don’t have the ability to pay it yet.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the April 15 deadline without filing for an extension or you may be stuck paying some hefty penalties.