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What are the most important 2024 deadlines for the 2023 tax year?

For most people, the most important deadline is the April 15, 2024 tax-filing deadline. Individual filers and many business filers are required to file their returns and pay any owed taxes by this date. There are several key deadlines that apply to most self-employed individuals and small business owners.

  • January 16, 2024. This is the due date for fourth-quarter 2023 estimated income tax payments. In general, sole proprietors, LLC members, partnerships, and S-corporation shareholders are required to make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe taxes of at least $1,000 for the 2023 tax year. Corporations that expect to owe at least $500 in taxes for the 2023 tax year are also required to make estimated payments.
  • January 29, 2024. Individual tax return filers can begin submitting their 2023 tax returns through either paper returns or by using electronic filing tools and services such as Rocket Tax. This includes sole proprietors and small business owners of pass-through entities such as single-member LLCs.
  • January 31, 2024. For businesses with employees, this is the deadline for providing workers with their W-2 Forms and filing them with the IRS. January 31, 2024, is also the deadline for many 1099 forms, including Form 1099-NEC, Form 1099-MISC, and Form 1099-K.
  • March 15, 2024. S-corporations, partnerships, and multi-member LLCs taxed as partnerships are required to file their tax returns for the 2023 tax year (assuming a December 31 fiscal year end). Businesses that would benefit from additional time to file their returns can request an extension of time to file using IRS Form 7004, so long as it's submitted by the filing due date.
  • April 15, 2024. First-quarter 2024 estimated income tax payments are due on this date.
  • April 15, 2024. This is the tax-filing deadline for individual filers, C-corporations, single-member LLCs, and LLCs taxed as corporations in every state except Maine and Massachusetts. Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17, 2024 to file and pay taxes due to state holidays extending the deadline. Form 4868 can be used to request an extension of time to file an accurate tax return. Note that applying for an automatic extension of time to file a tax return does not change the due date for taxes owed, so pay your tax bill by this date (estimating as closely as possible if exact figures cannot be determined). Doing so can help you avoid unnecessary penalties and interest.
  • June 17, 2024. Second-quarter 2024 estimated income tax payments are due on this date.
  • September 16, 2024. Third-quarter 2024 estimated income tax payments are due on this date.
  • October 15, 2024. If a Form 4868 was submitted to request an extension of time to file a tax return, this is the due date to file your completed return and submit all appropriate schedules to the IRS.

What happens if a business misses a tax deadline?

If you miss a tax filing deadline for your small business, don't panic. However, it is important to take action as quickly as possible after you realize the error. Ultimately, your state's Department of Revenue and the federal Internal Revenue Service determine and apply penalties for missed deadlines and late filings.

Generally, if you missed a deadline but were owed a refund, you are not subject to additional late-filing penalties or interest. But if you do owe money, filing your return promptly after the missed deadline and paying the amount owed in full can help you limit additional penalties. If you did not calculate withholdings or estimated tax payments properly, or failed to make estimated tax payments when due, expect to pay interest on the amount owed if you miss the deadline.

If you miss a filing deadline, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney or a tax professional about potential concerns and considerations specific to you or your business. Prompt action and a proactive plan for future tax filings can mitigate any losses associated with the missed deadline.

When do businesses need to file an annual report?

In addition to tax filing obligations, many businesses are required to file reports and information returns with the state(s) in which they do business. These are commonly known as annual reports, and are generally required for corporations and LLCs. However, different states impose different filing obligations on various types of business entities. Additionally, new for 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act requires many small businesses to file a Beneficial Ownership Information report.

These reports are intended to ensure that incorporated and organized businesses make public disclosures about operational and financial activities, providing transparency both for the state government as well as for potential or current investors and other stakeholders in the business.

While annual reports are due every 12 months, the due dates can, and do, vary widely from state to state. Similarly, the information business owners are required to report may differ. Working with online business legal services providers can help you understand and meet your filing requirements, wherever your business operates.

How can a business avoid missing a federal or state income tax filing deadline?

No business owner wants to miss federal or state income tax filing deadlines. However, it is not always easy to stay on top of those filing due dates while trying to manage day-to-day operations, finances, and everything else that goes into running a business.

There are several best practices you can implement to make sure your company's legal health remains strong. 

  • Use a calendar. First, if you have not already done so, start by adding all of your tax filing deadlines to a digital calendar and setting up alerts that provide enough time to meet those deadlines, which can range from a week to a month or more, depending on your situation. It is common to set more than one alert ahead of the deadline.  
  • Organize your tax records. Keeping detailed tax information records, including returns, schedules, and tax statements, and keeping your records organized and in a recognizable file format can go a long way in making tax compliance easier. If you are still filing paper tax returns, consider switching to e-filing, which can streamline the process. In addition to e-filing tax returns, businesses can electronically file Forms W-2 to report employee wages and earnings.
  • Keep copies of your taxes. Whether you use paper or electronic means to transmit returns and forms, it is best to keep copies of paper forms in case questions arise in the future. When you e-file your tax forms, you gain greater transparency into when the IRS and state tax authorities have received your returns as well as when the forms have been accepted.
  • Pay what you can if you can't pay the full amount owed by the deadline. In some cases, small business owners put off tax filings when they find themselves unable to pay the full amount owed. Filing your returns on time and paying what you are able to pay at that time can lower the amount subject to penalties and interest. From there, you may be able to work out a favorable repayment plan for any remaining tax liability.

Working with a qualified tax professional can provide added guidance and assurance as you navigate the tax filing obligations specific to you or your small business. A tax professional can also help you confirm that your Corporate Records are complete and that you are meeting your other business obligations.

Are there extensions for filing tax documents and annual reports?

Extensions are not available for all tax-filings. While you can request an extension for filing your federal income tax return, you cannot request one for filing Forms W-2 or 1099. Also, keep in mind that the extension is merely an extension of time to file the return and does not provide an extension of time to pay your taxes.

If your business is an S-corporation, a multi-member LLC taxed as a corporation, or a partnership, your tax return is due by March 15, 2024. You may request an automatic extension of time to file the return using Form 7004. For individual taxpayers and other types of businesses, the tax return deadline is April 15, 2024 (or April 17, 2024 for residents of Maine and Massachusetts). If you want to request an extension, submit Form 4868 by this same deadline.

The automatic extensions of time to file are good for six months, so the latest tax return filing with an extension would be October 15, 2024. Remember to pay the full amount of tax owed by the original tax return filing date to avoid penalties and interest.

If you have more questions about federal and state tax requirements for your self-employment or your small business, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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