As we start 2023, we can mark significant dates on our calendars: birthdays, anniversaries and, of course, the deadlines the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets for filing and paying federal income taxes.
Bear in mind that we are filing taxes for income earned in 2022, even though we file those forms in 2023. To keep confusion to a minimum, tax experts refer to 2022 as the tax year and 2023 as the filing year. Most, but not all, of the deadlines in 2023 refer to tax year 2022.
When is Tax Day? It’s complicated
The deadline for filing 2022 federal income tax returns for most taxpayers is April 18. Taxpayers haven’t had to file on the traditional date, April 15, since the 2019 filing season.
2023 IRS Key Tax Dates
Jan. 13: IRS Free File service opens to prepare tax year 2022 returns
Jan. 17: Final estimated tax payment for 2022 due
Jan. 17: Free MilTax service for military opens to prepare 2022 returns
Jan. 23: IRS begins processing 2022 tax returns
April 18: First estimated tax payment for tax year 2023 due
April 18: Filing deadline for tax year 2022
June 15: Second estimated tax payment for 2023 due
Sept. 15: Third estimated tax payment for 2023 due
Oct. 16: Extended deadline to file 2022 tax return
Jan. 16, 2024: Fourth estimated tax payment for 2023 due
In 2020 and 2021, the April 15 deadline got pushed back by the COVID-19 pandemic. And in some non-pandemic years, the deadline sometimes gets pushed back to the next business day because April 15 falls on a weekend.
The filing deadline this year is Tuesday, April 18, because April 15 is a Saturday and the filing date never occurs on a weekend. Washington, D.C., observes Emancipation Day on Monday, April 17. By law, the IRS is required to treat D.C. holidays as if they were national holidays for tax-filing purposes. Emancipation Day commemorates the day in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a measure to free enslaved people in D.C. (Adding to the complexity, the actual date of Emancipation Day is April 16, but since it falls on a Sunday this year the holiday is celebrated one day later.)
Some taxpayers affected by recent natural disasters get extra time to file. For example, California storm victims have until May 15, 2023 to file their income taxes.
Don’t blow the deadline. The penalty for late filing is 5 percent of the amount due each month, and the penalty for failure to pay is 0.5 percent a month, and maxes out at 25 percent a year. (When both penalties are levied in the same month, the total penalty is 5 percent a month: 4.5 percent for failure to file and 0.5 percent for failure to pay.) Interest also accrues, at a current rate of 3 percent.