Covid-19 created financial challenges for many. Find out how it may affect your April 15 tax deadline.

Tax Day for most is April 15. Typically, there are no exceptions, unless the date falls on a weekend or holiday, in which case the deadline is the next day that isn’t a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday.

However, 2020 was unlike any year in recent history. With COVID-19 impacting last year’s tax-filing deadline — it shifted from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020 — many taxpayers have been asking what impact, if any, the pandemic will have on this year’s filing.

As of this writing (February 2021), the IRS began accepting tax filings on February 12, 2021, and the tax deadline remains April 15, 2021.

What About an Extension?

The IRS allows taxpayers to file for an extension to the April 15 deadline. To do so, they must complete and submit Form 4868. Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form.

If the IRS approves the extension, it will provide you with a six-month grace period in which to file your taxes, or four months if you’re living outside of the U.S. Accordingly, if you live in the U.S., you will have until October 15, 2021, to pay any tax, interest, and penalties.

The IRS recommends filing for an extension as soon as you know that you’ll need one, as it will allow you time to fix and resubmit it prior to the April1 5 tax deadline if there are issues with your initial submission.

What About Estimated Taxes?

If you pay estimated taxes, your schedule varies somewhat. If you are self-employed, a farmer, or a fisherman, you must file estimated taxes quarterly with Form 1040-ES on or before:

Q1 payment: April 15

Q2 payment: June 15

Q3 payment: September 15

Q4 payment: January 15

If you earn tips, you will pay estimates monthly according to the following:

January 11

February 10

March 10

April 12

May 10

June 10

July 12

August 10

September 10

October 12

November 10

December 10

If you fail to pay estimated taxes by the above deadlines, you may incur a penalty. However, note that if you pay quarterly estimates and you fail to pay the Q4 estimate by January 15 BUT you file your 2020 income tax early — January 31 if you’re self-employed or March 1 if you’re a farmer or fisherman — you won’t be charged a penalty.

Unemployed in 2020? Read On

If you were unemployed in 2020 and received unemployment benefits, you should receive a Form 1099-Gfrom the IRS. The IRS considers this money taxable income, and you must report it on your federal tax return. Depending on where you live, your state may also count unemployment benefits as taxable income.

If you received unemployment compensation by the federal or a state government, you should include this with your other income when you file your taxes.

For information and advice on preparing your tax returns, we recommend consulting a tax or financial professional.


This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.

This material was prepared by LPL Financial.

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