US Business Tax Returns, Due Dates and Payments

by Lo’Ai Shatara – Rise CPA Senior Manager, US Tax

Tax Returns and Due Dates

Tax Period:

US business taxpayers are taxed on an annual basis. For corporations, they may choose a tax year-end different from the calendar year-end, such as June 30th. Newly formed corporations may use a short tax year for their first tax return. Corporations also may choose to file a short year tax return if they wish to change the tax year.

Tax Returns:

Generally, corporate taxpayers are required to file an annual tax return after three and a half months following the close of its tax year. For example, if the corporation’s year end is December 31st, then the tax return will be due April 15th. The corporation can obtain a six month extension to file their tax return. In the same example above, the corporation can file an extension on or before April 15th, and the tax return can be filed on or before October 15th (six months after the original due date). It is important to note that the extension is for filing only, NOT an extension to pay. Any tax due must be paid by the original due date, which is three and a half months after the close of the tax year.

There is an exception to the rule if the year end for a corporation falls on June 30th. The due date to file the tax return or extension is on September 15th (two and a half months).

Payment of Tax

Generally, the tax liability is required to be prepaid throughout the year in four equal installments, known as quarterly estimated payments. If the corporation is expected to have a tax liability for the tax year more than USD $500, then the corporation is required to make estimated payments.

For calendar year corporations, the quarterly estimated payments are due by the 15th day of April, June, September, and December. For fiscal year corporations, the quarterly estimated payments are due by the 15th day of the fourth, sixth, ninth, and twelfth month of the tax year. If any due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, then the installment is due on the next regular business day.

 A corporation that does not make estimated tax payments on time may be subject to penalties and interest charges for the period of underpayment.

Overpayment of estimated tax may apply for a refund or carry on the tax payments to the next tax year.

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