Extending the U.S. Tax Filing Deadline

April 8, 2013
US Tax Filing Deadline Extension

Mention the date April 15th to a U.S. person and their first thought probably turns to taxes. Individuals who are required to file a US income tax return are generally required to file their return on or before April 15th provided that the date falls on a weekday. In years when the 15th falls on a weekend, the due date is delayed to the first business day after the weekend. It gets a little more complicated to determine the correct tax filing due date when Emancipation Day, a date normally observed in the District of Columbia on April 16th falls on a weekend or Monday. In 2013, April 15 falls on a weekday and consequently Monday April 15, 2013 is the due date for many U.S. individual income tax returns.

This April 15th due date is automatically extended to June 15th for some individuals who are nonresident aliens of the US (ie: not U.S. citizens and not U.S. residents) who are required to file US returns to report certain US source income. For example, a Canadian who is a nonresident alien of the US who in 2012 earned rental income from a U.S. real property interest would have a June 17, 2013 deadline (normally June 15th, but June 15, 2013 falls on a Saturday) to file his or her 2012 U.S. federal income tax return. However, any Canadian who was a nonresident alien of the US who had wages subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding would be required to file a US return by April 15th and not June 15th. In addition to their U.S. federal income tax return, Canadian nonresident aliens of the U.S. may also have a State filing requirement which is generally due April 15th as well.

U.S. citizens living outside of the United States on the normal due date of their tax return receive an automatic two-month extension of time to file their U.S. federal income tax return and pay any tax due so long as their main place of business is outside of the United States. For example, a U.S. citizen resident and employed in Canada on April 15th would get an automatic extension of time to file their U.S. tax return to June 15th. U.S. citizens should attach a statement to their U.S. federal income tax return to obtain this automatic extension.

US persons not able to file a complete U.S. federal income tax return by the normal due date can file an extension request with the Internal Revenue Service which can extend the time to file their U.S. federal income tax return for another four to six months. In general terms, filing for this request does not extend the due date for payment of any taxes owing. An individual with a tax liability should pay this amount to the Internal Revenue Service on or before the due date to avoid the IRS assessing interest on late payment of taxes. The individual may be required to make an estimated tax payment for the current year. The rules and requirements for state income tax filing due dates and payments dates often differ from the Internal Revenue Service requirements.