Deadlines: Working for the (Tax) Man

“Hey now you better listen to me – every one of you
We got a lotta lotta lotta lotta work to do
Forget about your woman and that water can
Today we’re working for the man

Well pick up your feet
We’ve got a deadline to meet
I’m gonna see you make it on time
Don’t relax
I want elbows and backs
I wanna see everybody from behind”

— Roy Orbison “Working for the Man”

Taxes and deadlines. Ugh. What an unpleasant duo. We all know about April 15 – the deadline for filing our federal income tax. But there are so many additional important dates and deadlines to keep in mind – and especially so if you are a business owner. And for all of us, the deadlines are really important, since the penalties for being late can be severe.

So as the legendary Roy Orbison sang in the song referenced above: “Hey now, you better listen to me…we gotta lotta work to do…Well pick up your feet, we’ve got a deadline to meet, I’m gonna see you make it on time.” Yes, we in fact “working for the [tax] man.”

With that in mind, here’s an overview of some of the most critical deadlines. Note that in some cases you might get a few extra days since the regular due date falls on a weekend.

  • January 15th: due date to pay 4th quarter estimated taxes
  • February 2nd: due date to send out 1099s and W-2s to recipients
  • March 2nd: due date to file 1099s/1096s and W-2s/W-3s if you are paper filing
  • March 16th: due date to file corporate (1120 and 1120S) returns and elect S-Corp status for existing corporations or LLCs
  • March 31st: due date to file 1099s/1096s and W-2s/W-3s if you are filing electronically
  • April 15th: due date to file individual (1040), trust (1041), and partnership returns (1065). Also the last day to make HSA contributions and contributions to the majority of retirement plans.
  • May 15th: due date to file most nonprofit returns (Form 990)
  • August 15th: due date for extended nonprofit returns if not granted a second extension
  • September 15th: due date for extended corporate, partnership, and trust tax returns
  • October 15th: due date for extended individual tax returns

There are of course other deadlines during the year related to payroll, estimated payments, establishment of certain retirement plans, etc. And throughout the year it is always a good idea to periodically analyze your situation to see if there are advantageous tax strategies to be employed. But this gives a pretty good snapshot of the major things to look out for in the coming months.

Also, as regards the April 15 filing deadline, I note this every year but it is good to reiterate it again: an extension is an extension to file, not an extension to pay. If you file an extension and still owe money you will be assessed the failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% per month on the balance. This is a huge improvement over the 5% per month failure-to-file penalty you would be assessed without filing an extension (so file the extension if you need to!) One half of a percent each month is not the most disastrous cost in the world, but it is something every taxpayer should be aware of when budgeting their money.

Unfortunately all of this can be hard to keep up with and sometimes difficult to understand. As always, if you have any questions or need any tax assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Any accounting, business, or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties.