Estimate Time5 min

When are taxes due?

Key takeaways

  • Federal income tax returns are due on April 15, 2024. Due to state holidays residents of Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17, 2024.
  • If you file for an extension, you have until October 15, 2024, to file your return, but you still must pay any taxes you owe by April 15, 2024, unless you're a resident of Maine or Massachusetts, then you have until April 17, 2024.
  • If you pay quarterly estimated taxes, payments are due on April 15, 2024; June 17, 2024; September 16, 2024; and January 15, 2025.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, the only sure things in life are death and taxes. While you typically can't predict when the first will happen, federal taxes generally come due in mid-April each year.

Here are the important federal tax filing and payment deadlines to know.

Fidelity Smart Money

Feed your brain. Fund your future.

When are taxes due?

The deadline to file your federal tax return and pay any federal income taxes you owe is Monday, April 15, 2024. Due to state holidays residents of Maine and Massachusetts have until Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

If you don't think you'll be able to have your tax return complete by then, you may be able to file for an extension until October 15, 2024. Important: This is only for your tax return. Any taxes you owe are still due by April 15, 2024, or April 17, 2024 if you're a resident of Maine or Massachusetts. Unpaid balances may be penalized and accrue interest.

For certain taxpayers, April 15 is not the only Tax Day to keep in mind. Depending on where you live, it's possible that your state or local income tax deadline could be different from the federal tax deadline. Be sure to confirm when you must file all tax returns and complete relevant tax payments.

In addition, those who don't have employers withholding taxes on their behalf (think: freelancers, side hustlers, the self-employed, those with substantial investment income) may have to make federal tax payments every 3 months based on what they estimate their annual income to be. You may need to make these quarterly estimated payments if you expect to owe more than $1,000 when you file your tax return or if you owed taxes last year.

When are estimated taxes due?

Estimated federal taxes are typically due 15 days after the previous quarter ended, though this may be slightly extended if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday. The estimated federal tax deadlines for 2023 are April 15, 2024; June 17, 2024; September 16, 2024; and January 15, 2025.1 If you need to pay estimated federal taxes, it's important you do so by these deadlines. Otherwise, you may face penalties.

Income period Deadline to pay estimated taxes
January 1 – March 31, 2024 April 15, 2024
April 1 – May 31, 2024 June 17, 2024
June 1 – August 31, 2024 September 16, 2024
September 1 – December 31, 2024 January 15, 20251

1. Those who file their annual tax returns by January 31, 2024, do not have to pay estimated taxes by January 15, 2025.

What happens if you file taxes late?

What happens if you file federal taxes late depends on whether you owe the IRS money. If you don't have a tax bill, there is no penalty for filing federal taxes past the April 15, 2024, deadline (or April 17, 2024 deadline for residents of Maine and Massachusetts). However, it's still beneficial to file a tax return, as you may be missing out on valuable credits or a refund. Filing a return may also be worthwhile to ensure all of your earnings for the year are accurately reported, as this information is used in determining how much Social Security you may be eligible for in the future, specifically for the self-employed.

What if you owe taxes and miss the deadline? You may be hit with failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties. The former equals 5% of unpaid taxes you owe, applied each month your bill goes unpaid for up to 5 months. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum failure-to-file penalty becomes the smaller of $435 or 100% of the taxes owed. The failure-to-pay penalty charges 0.5% of what you owe each month you fail to pay, up to a total of 25% of the unpaid balance. When both penalties are applied, the failure-to-file penalty is reduced by the amount of the failure-to-pay penalty so the combined penalty totals 5%.

In addition to these penalties, the IRS charges interest on the unpaid tax balance. The interest rate varies but is set as the federal short-term rate plus 3%. Interest compounds daily, starting on the deadline the money is owed and continuing until it's paid in full. Unpaid penalties may be charged interest in addition to interest that original balances accrue.

Penalties and interest on late state or local tax payments and returns may vary, so double check those that apply to you if you expect to file late.

Tax filing options

You have a few different options when it comes to filing your taxes—from the DIY route to having professional help to prepare your return. Check out our guide on how to file taxes for more on each method. Keep in mind that no matter what, you'll need to locate important paperwork, such as a W-2 for employee-earned income, 1099s and 1099-INTs for non-employee income, and receipts from any eligible charitable contributions, medical expenses, and business expenses you hope to deduct.

When might I get my tax return and forms?

There are 2 types of tax forms you will need to complete your federal taxes: the forms you fill out and the forms others fill out on your behalf.

The forms you fill out might include the 1040 (annual tax returns) or 1040-ES (for freelancers or self-employed individuals to calculate and pay estimated taxes for the current year). These can be found on the IRS website.

The forms that others fill out on your behalf might be ones such as the W-2 form from employers and 1099 income statements from freelance work or other non-employment income, like interest payments or investment income. You generally receive these by mid-to-late January.

When will I get my tax refund?

If you are owed a federal refund, the IRS typically will issue it within 21 days of receiving an electronically filed tax return; paper returns may take up to 6 months. You can check the status of your refund with the Where's My Refund online tool or the IRS2Go mobile app.

Expecting a tax refund? Try fueling your goals

Get started moving your money forward with options to help save and invest.

More to explore

This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor.

Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general and educational in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact investment results. Fidelity cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. Fidelity makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use, and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917