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Monday Tax Renewal Deadline: What You Need to Know About Late Filing, IRS Fines

Tax day is May 17

Applying for an extension can save you extra time, but there are some consequences to consider.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Tax day is Monday, meaning the time to submit is now. If you the cutoff to file your taxes, you may also miss out on some extra money in connection with incentive payments and the child tax credit. But if you know you won’t be able to complete your taxes on time, you’ll want to apply for an extension so you have until October 15 to file your tax return. You don’t have to give the IRS (or anyone else) a reason why you need more time to file a file, but you do need to apply for an extension as soon as possible – before the May 17 deadline.

There are some things to consider before applying for an extension. An extension of the filing does not delay paying taxes you owe, and the IRS can impose penalties and interest on the remaining unpaid balances after Monday. An extension can also be your tax returns, an additional incentive payment or money from the first and second stimulus controls you have to claim this year. An extension can also affect your height payment of the child discount— like you qualify for one.

If you file later, it may take longer to receive your tax refund, but tracking your combined refund and incentive payment can help. We can also tell you about the new child discount, including how much you could get, like which families are eligible (including dependent persons). You can also read what could be on the horizon with a fourth stimulus control. This story has been updated.

How to file a tax extension before Monday’s deadline

Applying for an extension can help you avoid monthly penalties that the IRS can impose for late tax returns. There are three ways the IRS says you can file a tax extension:

Option 1Pay all or part of your estimated income tax through Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or through a credit card, and note that you have requested an extension.

Option 2: Submit Form 4868 (PDF) electronically by accessing the IRS e-file by using your tax software or by partnering with a tax advisor using e-file. Make sure you have a copy of your 2019 tax return.

If you need to find a tax software service and you earn $ 72,000 or less, then you can use the IRS Free File Online tool to find an IRS-approved free filing service. You must collect the following information: income statements (W2s or 1099s); any adjustments to your income; your current application status (single, married, filing jointly); and dependent information. If you are earning more than $ 72,000 you can use the free fillable form.

Once you’ve entered all of your information, the IRS will help you determine which option is best for you – it could be the IRS Free File Program, for example, by TurboTax or TaxSlayer.

Option 3: File a paper Form 4868 and include the payment of your estimate of the tax due. Make sure it is postmarked on or before May 17th.

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Your tax questions answered in 3 minutes


Will filing an extension delay the money I owe the IRS?

No. Extending your filing deadline to October doesn’t delay when you may have to pay taxes due. According to the IRS, you must estimate and pay all taxes due by May 17 to avoid late fees. Otherwise, you could accrue interest on what you owe, which you’ll end up having to pay – plus potential penalties – on top of your income tax.

For individual taxpayers, fines and interest are no longer accrued until your balance is paid in full.

How will submitting an extension affect your eligibility for an additional payment?

If the IRS calculated the amount of your third incentive payment with your 2019 tax return, you could qualify for more money as a so-called “plus-up paymentOnce the IRS receives 2020 taxes and recalculates your total. But until you file a 2020 tax return, the IRS will not have your new income or dependent information on file. If you file a tax extension, your payment will be in full.

Will filing taxes late reduce the amount of my 2021 child discount payouts?

The IRS uses your 2020 tax return to determine how much money you qualify for as part of the extensive child discount this year. If you wait until October to file, the IRS can use an older tax return for calculate your payments. If a change in income or a new dependent doesn’t reflect in that older return, you may be getting less money this year than you qualify. Know that you may be able to update your information on a child tax credit portal that the IRS plans to roll out in July.

Can I still claim the missing 2020 incentive money if I request an extension?

If the IRS owes you money from the first two stimulus checks – you may not have received a check or received less than what you were eligible for – you can claim the missing payments through a chargeback discount credit on your tax form for 2020. This is true even if you usually not required to file taxes. So the longer you wait to submit a file, the longer it will take to submit your missing incentive payment.


May 17 is the deadline to file your income tax return or to request an extension.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Will my refund be delayed if I request a tax extension?

The timeline for getting your income tax back – or your refund plus incentive money outstanding – depends on when you sign up. Although you have until October 15 to file your tax return if you have filed an extension, this does not mean you have to wait that long to file.

For example, if you apply before the May 17 deadline, you can receive your money as early as May 24. However, if you wait until October 15th, you will get the money back at the earliest October 22nd. The IRS is experiencing delays providing certain services because of the pandemic, so in some situations it may take longer to receive your money. For more information on when to expect your tax refund, see our table below.

When to expect your tax refund

If you submit a file on this date

This is the fastest

This is the last

May 17 (last day to submit)

May 24

June 7

October 15 (last day with extension)

Oct 22, 2018

November 5th

For more tax information, we spell the difference between a tax refund and a tax return, how the tax season will be different in 2021 and three reasons to sign up for direct deposit when you file your taxes.

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