Tax Day is normally April 15 in the U.S., but that date isn't carved in stone. The deadline for filing your income tax return can and does occasionally shift from year to year. The 2021 deadline was a prime example. The IRS moved it all the way back to May 17, 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
A similar shift occurs in the 2022 filing season when you'll prepare and submit your 2021 federal tax return, although it's not quite as extensive or dramatic and COVID is not to blame. Tax Day for federal returns is April 18 this year because April 18 falls on a holiday in the District of Columbia.
These extensions are always automatic. You don't have to file anything or take any extra steps to take advantage of the delay.
2022 Federal Tax Filing Deadlines
April 15 is Emancipation Day in Washington D.C., and holidays in the capitol are treated the same as federal holidays. They impact the whole country. The IRS is closed for business on April 15, so taxpayers country-wide get a bit of a reprieve.
Tax Day is bumped to the next business day when this happens, but April 15 also falls on a Friday in 2022. The next business day is therefore Monday, April 18...unless you reside in Maine or Massachusetts. These states recognize Patriot's Day on April 18, so your tax deadline is April 19 if you live in either of these states. You get an extra day.
As for residents of Colorado, some of you have until May 16, 2022 to file your 2021 federal income tax returns. The IRS has extended this relief to taxpayers who have been affected by the wildfires that ravaged the state beginning on Dec. 30, 2021. This included Boulder as of Jan. 3, 2022, as well as any other areas that have been designated by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can check to see if your location is included and for any updates at the IRS disaster relief page on its website.
Read More: How to Find Out if the IRS Has Received My Taxes?
Tax Day for federal returns is April 18 this year because April 18 falls on a holiday in the District of Columbia.
Getting an Additional Federal Extension
You can additionally request a further extension that will give you until Monday, Oct. 17, 2022 if you have reason to believe that you won't be able to file your 2021 return by April 18. But this does require that you take an extra step, and you must still pay any tax you owe by the normal deadline, April 18, if you don't want to face penalties and interest. Extensions are normally granted for six months to Oct. 15, but this date also falls on a weekend in 2022 so you get an additional two days.
Fill out and file IRS Form 4868 either by mail or by using tax software to request an additional extension. You must do so before this year's tax deadline passes. This form will ask for basics like your name, address and Social Security number, followed up with a request for your estimated 2021 tax liability and your intended payment. It will then ask about your residency status.
You can send part or all of your tax payment with this form, or pay at another time before the normal tax deadline. You can also look into one of the payment arrangements that the IRS offers if you're particularly strapped for cash and can't immediately lay your hands on all the money.
You don't have to take any further action or wait for approval from the IRS after filing this form. You just have to get your return filed by the extension's deadline of Oct. 17, 2022 and handle any tax payment.
Read More: Filing an Extension for Taxes
Don't Forget Your State Return
The 2022 change will give you an extra few days with your federal tax return, it doesn't necessarily follow that your 2021 state income tax return filing deadline will be delayed as well, at least unless you live in Maine or Massachusetts. Check with your state's taxing authority's website to be sure. You also usually have the option of getting a tax extension in your state if you'd rather wait and do both returns at the same time.
Filing Your 2021 Tax Return
You can take advantage of the free filing tools that the IRS has provided to taxpayers when it comes time to prepare your return. People who had an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $73,000 or less in the 2021 tax year have free access to popular online tax filing software, and some of the options will let you file your state return for free too. Or you could choose and pay for a tax software of your choice if you don't meet this income requirement. You can also use the free fillable 1040 form the IRS provides for the federal return and prepare it the good old-fashioned way by hand.
The IRS advises that you use the e-file option rather than traditional mail if you want to get your tax refund more quickly. Mailed federal tax returns can take up to four weeks to track, but this time is down to just one day for most e-filed returns. Also consider taking advantage of direct deposit to avoid possible mail delays involved with getting your tax refund by check.
In either case, you can use the "Where's My Refund" tool after these timeframes have passed to find out where your federal tax return sits in the process. Your state likely will have a similar tool to find out what stage your return is in, and you can usually find it on your state tax agency's website along with processing times.
Read More: Form 1040: What You Need to Know
Getting Help Paying Taxes
You can look into options like the various IRS payment plans or an offer in compromise if you don't think you can meet the tax payment deadline. The payment plans will let you spread the tax debt over four months for smaller debts, up to several years for large tax debts, but you'll have to pay some fees and interest. You could try to make the IRS an offer for something less instead if you owe a large amount and you don't have sufficient available cash or assets to sell to come up with the money, nor can you qualify for a loan.
- IRS: Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- IRS: File Your Federal Taxes Online for Free
- Federal of Tax Administrators: State Tax Agencies
- IRS: Topic No. 301 When, How, and Where to File
- IRS: IRS Operations During COVID-19: Mission-critical functions continue
- IRS: New Exclusion of up To $10,200 of Unemployment Compensation
- OLT: Learn More About Your State Extensions!
- IRS: Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions
- IRS: Where's My Refund?
- IRS: Offer in Compromise
- IRS: Apply Online for a Payment Plan
- IRS: 2022 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 24; IRS Outlines Refund Timing and What to Expect in Advance of April 18 Deadline
- IRS: For Colorado Wildfire Victims, IRS Extends 2021 Tax-Filing Deadline, Other Deadlines to May 16
- IRS: Tax Relief in Disaster Situations
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally for over 30 years. She is also a paralegal, specializing in areas of personal finance, bankruptcy and estate law. She writes as the tax expert for The Balance.