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Filing a tax extension for your 2021 returns

Need extra time to finish your 2021 tax paperwork? You may want to consider filing an extension. 

Maybe you’re still waiting for tax information or are still sorting out your deductions. Whatever the case, by filing for a tax return extension, the IRS will automatically extend the deadline to file your tax forms. 

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • Important tax deadlines to remember
  • When you’ll need to pay owed taxes 
  • How to file an extension for an individual return 
  • Small business tax return extension rules 

Tax dates to remember

April 18, 2022 (April 19 in some states)1

  • Deadline to file federal 2021 individual income tax returns  
  • Deadline to file for an extension (see Form 48682) and pay any taxes owed to the IRS, and state revenue departments, if applicable 
  • Deadline for 2021 IRA/HSA contributions 
  • State income tax return filing dates and tax payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline; check with your state tax agencies or your tax advisor for those details 
  • See IRS Tax Relief in Disaster Situations for more information – if you have been affected by a federally-declared disaster 
  • A penalty may apply if you don’t file a tax return by the due date but filing an extension will prevent the late filing penalty from applying if you file by the extended due date3  

Oct. 17, 2022 

  • Deadline to file federal 2021 individual income tax returns (if you filed an extension with the IRS) 

You still have to pay taxes owed by April 18, 20221 

Filing for a tax return extension only extends the deadline to submit your tax paperwork. If you owe any taxes, payment is still due by April 18.1 Your tax payment may be reduced by any amounts previously withheld and estimated tax payments. By making a large enough payment, you may be able to avoid interest charges as well as any penalties for late payment. The penalties for failure to pay taxes when due can increase your tax bill the longer you delay.4 

How to file a tax return extension for an individual 

  1. Estimate your tax bill. Do a rough draft of your Form 1040 or consult with your tax preparer to find out what you will owe in taxes this year. If you find you are due a refund, you may not need to worry about your tax bill but will want to file for the refund. 
  2. Read Form 48682. This form will ask you for your estimated total tax liability and total payments (both estimated tax payments and withholding) for 2021 to determine the balance due, if any, with your extension.  Remember to consider any Advance Child Tax Credit payments when calculating your estimated tax liability. 
  3. Following the Form 48682 instructions, mail or electronically file the extension form with your payment by the April 18 deadline1; instructions are included on Form 48682. Once the form is filed, your tax return is due Oct. 17.5

Small business tax extensions rules

  • If you are self-employed and filing for an extension for your personal tax returns, you will have until the Oct. 17 deadline to file the paperwork for your individual tax return. However, any taxes you owe are still due on April 18.1 
  • You must continue to fund your SIMPLE IRA (savings incentive match plan for employees) until year end. 
  • Your individual 401(k) plan must be set up by your business’s fiscal year-end. You can make employer/profit sharing contributions up until your business’s tax filing deadline, plus extensions. Additionally, your individual 401(k) plan operates on a business tax year. For many business owners this is Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, giving your plan an effective date of Jan. 1 of the year the plan is established.  
  • You can set up a SEP plan for a year as late as the due date (including extensions) of your business's income tax return for that year. 
  • The IRS requires that we code SEP or SIMPLE contributions in the calendar year they are received. An employer may, however, report the contribution for the prior plan year when filing their tax return. For more information on the IRS requirements, please see Instructions for Participant on the back of Form 5498 Line 8 (SEP contributions) or Line 9 (SIMPLE contributions). 
  • Individuals cannot make prior year contributions to a traditional and/or Roth IRA past the April 18 deadline.1 
  • Work with your tax preparer to file the correct forms for requesting an extension. 


Get answers to your tax-related questions 

View dates and deadlines, tax filing FAQs, information on tax strategies and more. 

Visit the Ameriprise Tax Center

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1 The April 18 deadline is pushed back to April 19 for Maine and Massachusetts residents.  
2 Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
3 The failure to file penalty is generally 5% of the amount of tax due, each month (or partial month) the return is late, capped at a maximum of 25%, but can be more in certain circumstances.
4The failure to pay penalty is generally ½ % of the amount of tax due, each month (or partial month) the payment is late, capped at a maximum of 25%, but can be more in certain circumstances. Additional penalties may apply if you substantially underpay your tax or fail to make sufficient estimated tax payments (if required).
5The IRS will contact you only if the request is denied.
Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.
Ameriprise Financial Services LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.