Here’s a reminder for any late filers who requested an extension on their 2020 taxes ... and then totally forgot about it.
The actual, real, final deadline to file your 2020 federal tax return is this Friday, Oct. 15. Unless you’re among the minority of taxpayers who can take more time because of extenuating circumstances (more on that later), anyone who filed for an extension has run up against the clock.
In the spring, the IRS extended the deadline for all filers from April 15 to May 17 due to the pandemic. This is the second year in a row Tax Day was postponed. But the deadline for people who requested an extension didn’t change.
The IRS had earlier estimated that 16.5 million households filed for an extension this year, a significant increase over the 12 million that requested an extension on their 2019 tax returns. If you filed for an extension and still haven't sent in your 2020 return, it’s time to gather your W-2s, 1099s and other financial documents and get the job done. You have until the end of the day on Friday, Oct. 15 before penalties may kick in.
What about child tax credit payments?
As a result of the American Rescue Plan, many parents have been receiving monthly checks as part of the expanded child tax credit program since July. If you haven't filed a 2020 tax return yet, the IRS is using your 2019 return to calculate how much to send you each month (it's a maximum of $300 monthly per child).
The agency is encouraging any families that had a baby in 2020 to file their 2020 taxes as soon as possible. If your return is processed by Nov. 1, you may still receive the November and December payments for the baby born last year. And if your return is processed by Nov. 29, the IRS says you "may be eligible" for the December payment.
Coincidentally, Friday is also the day the October child tax credit payments are being sent out. If you didn’t opt out of the payments, you should receive yours on Friday through direct deposit, and a few days later if you’re waiting to receive a paper check in the mail. Here's the full list of the payment dates. Anyone who does not receive their full child tax credit payments this year will get what they're owed after filing taxes next year, for the 2021 tax year.
Can I have more time to file taxes?
If you are working in a combat zone – whether you’re in the military or a contractor, for example – you don’t need to worry about filing your taxes just yet. After you get back, you likely have another 180 days to file.
Families that were affected by a natural disaster also have more time to file. That includes victims of Hurricane Ida in multiple states, who now have until Jan. 3, 2022. Victims of California wildfires are also taken into account, and will have until Nov. 15 to file. Here’s a full list of other disasters that mean you can take more time on your taxes, according to the IRS.
If you applied for an extension and none of the extenuating circumstances apply to you, the final day to file without penalty is Oct. 15. Yet another reason to file your taxes as soon as possible: if you didn’t get all of the pandemic stimulus payment money you are owed, you can still claim it when you file your 2020 taxes.