Federal Income Tax Filing FAQ
The following questions and answers apply to federal income tax filing; remember that there may be several other types of taxes you are responsible to pay. All of the links below will take you to the appropriate, official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) page for more information.
As always, if you have questions about your specific tax situation, you should consult an experienced tax attorney or other tax professional.
Do I Have to File?
Whether you have to file federal income taxes depends on the amount and type of your income and also your age and filing status. The IRS provides more specific information on this, and in IRS Tax Tip 2010-17, lists eight reasons why you may want to file your federal income taxes even though you may not be obligated to do so.
When Do I File?
The general federal income tax deadline is April 15 “for U.S. citizens and residents who file returns on the calendar year.” If you use a fiscal year, your due date is “the 15th day of the 4th month after the close of your fiscal year.”
Your tax return (and payment of any taxes due) must be postmarked (not received) by the deadline date. If you use e-filing, the electronic postmark determines whether your return was filed on time.
Can I Get an Extension?
You may be able to get an extension by filing for an automatic 6-month extension either online or through a paper application. There are also special provisions for those who were out of the country and/or in a combat zone on the filing deadline. Remember, though, that any taxes you owe are still due by your deadline, otherwise you may face tax penalties.
What Happens If I File Late?
If your federal income taxes are not filed on time, you may be subject to the failure-to-file penalty as well as interest if you owed taxes; if you were owed a refund from the government, you have until three years past the filing date to claim it.
Where Do I File?
If you are filing electronically, you do not need to specify any place to send your return. If you are filing with paper, you should use the envelope provided with your tax forms (if any) and follow the instructions there; if you do not have this envelope or you have moved since last tax year and are no longer in the same state, check the IRS website for more information on where you should file.
Can I File Online?
Consult the IRS website for more information on whether you are eligible for e-filing.