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Key Dates for 2015 American Tax Year

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An old joke amongst US accountants is that every month that has a 15th in it holds some kind of tax deadline, but a quick glance at the list below renders it less of a joke and more of an understatement! Here is a concise guide to all the important days in the American tax calendar, the dates they fall on this year, and what they could mean for you.

1st January 2015 (Updated Article: Key Dates for 2016 Tax Year)

Beginning of the 2015 tax year. Unlike many other countries, the fiscal year in the US is the same as the calendar year. Some deadlines from the 2014 tax year still fall in 2015 though (in the case of extensions or April 15th).

12th January 2015

If you work for tips and earned more than $20 gratuity in the previous month, you need to report it to your employer using Form 4070 by this date. You need to do this on the 10th of every month throughout the year, excluding months where the 10th falls on a weekend or bank holiday – January 10th falls on a Sunday, so you’d report your earnings a day later on the 11th.

15th January 2015

If your income is subject to withholding (i.e. tax is automatically deducted from your paycheck by an employer), the chances are you probably won’t need to worry about this deadline. However, if you receive any income that isn’t automatically taxed at its source – in the case of landlords and the self-employed, for example, as well as farmers and fishermen – you need to make your final quarterly estimated tax payment for 2014 by this date. You can find out more about estimated tax and whether you’re affected here.

2nd February 2015

At the Revenue, processing of individual tax returns from the previous year begins on this date. For employers, this is the deadline for the distribution of Annual Wage and Tax Statements (Form W-2) to employees. If you haven’t received your W-2 by mid February, be sure to check with your employer that they’ve been sent out. This date is also essential if you’ve missed the estimated tax deadline above; if you file and pay your return in full by the 31st, you’ll avoid a penalty fare. (note: this deadline usually falls on the 31st January, which is a Saturday in 2015). 

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17th February 2015

If you have a withholding allowance, this is your deadline for filing a W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate) with your employer for the year 2015. A withholding allowance grants you some control over how much of your income you want to be automatically subject to federal taxes. This can be a useful resource if you’re willing to put the extra effort in every year, so think about discussing it with your company.

In addition, the 17th is also the deadline for financial institutions to issue 1099-B and 1099-S forms. Form 1099-B is typically issued by a broker or barter exchange, and details any capital gain you may have obtained from stock transactions, which needs to be reported to the Revenue when you file your income taxes. Form 1099­-S, meanwhile, is used to report any proceeds from real estate transactions.

28th February 2015

If filing on paper, this is the deadline for businesses to submit Forms 1099 and 1096. These documents relate to business transactions that aren’t covered by W-2, so anything that falls outside of tips and wages – hiring an independent contractor, for example. If filing them electronically, the deadline is April 1st

2nd March 2015

This date is most relevant to workers in the primary sector: March 3rd is the deadline for farmers and fishermen to file and pay their individual income tax returns.

17th March 2015

Deadline for corporate tax returns. Corporations who use the calendar year as their tax year (i.e. their deadlines don’t straddle 2014 and 2015) are eligible for a six month extension, but must apply for it by this date.

15th April 2015

Probably the most obvious date on this list, April 15th is the last day for submitting and paying individual tax returns for the year 2014. You can request a six month extension on filing your return, but any payments are still due by this date. Additionally, as refunds expire 3 years from their original due date, the 15th is the last day to file an original or amended tax return from 2011 and claim a rebate. It’s also the last day to contribute to an Individual Retirement or Health Savings Account (IRA/HSA) and have it considered retroactive to 2014. Finally, it’s the deadline for the first quarterly estimated tax payment of 2015.

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15th May 2015

Deadline for non-profit organizations to submit their details to the IRS or request an extension. Although such institutions are tax-exempt, they are required to submit a Form 990 or information return so the Revenue can evaluate their operations and insure they are properly exempt from Federal tax.

1st June 2015

Deadline for the relevant financial institutions to distribute information on Individual Retirement Account balances for the previous year.

15th June 2015

Second quarter estimated payments are due on this date, as are tax returns and payments from US citizens living abroad. Expatriates can claim a six month automatic extension on the 15th April, just like Americans living at home: if they didn’t do this already, they can claim a 4 month extension on the 15th June.

30th June 2015

If you have over $10,000 in total held in foreign bank accounts you’re required to file a Foreign Bank Account Report by this date. There’s no extension available on this, and it’s not possible to submit details by post; all documentation has to be filed electronically by the 30th with no exceptions.

15th September 2015

Third quarter estimated tax payments are due on this date. If an extension was requested on corporate, trust income or partnership tax returns for the year 2014, this is the final deadline for filing them.

1st October 2015

If you’re self-employed or a small business owner, this is your last chance to set up a SIMPLE IRA for the year 2014. SIMPLE IRAs (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees Individual Retirement Account) are Individual Retirement Accounts put in place especially for small companies and the people who work for them, and are designed to be cheaper and easier to maintain than their more corporate counterparts. This is an extremely useful asset If you’re an independent business, both for tax benefits and for providing yourself with some much-needed future stability. More information on SIMPLE IRAs can be found here.

15th October 2015

Final deadline if you’ve requested an extension on your individual tax returns.

31st December 2015

This is the last day to make any tax moves for the year 2014. Efficiently planning income and expenses year by year is a fantastic way of managing your income tax effectively: by incurring expenses a year early (‘accelerating’ expenses) or delaying them until the following year (‘deferring’), you can make significant changes to your tax values.

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A number of the dates in the 2015 tax year are actually significant for 2014; the fiscal years tend to overlap a little, so be sure to double-check that you’re submitting documentation for the right year! We know so many tax deadlines almost every month can be daunting, but hopefully this list will enable you to keep track of the dates significant to you, or help you make the relevant enquiries if you’re not sure.

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About The Author

Elizabeth Murphy - Online Marketing Manager @ Taxback.com

I am a person who likes challenges, as they help me improve and gain experience which is priceless. I am very grateful to my parents; they always have supported me in everything and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them!

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