Keep your eye on this 2020 tax calendar. Otherwise you may miss any deadlines that could trigger penalties. Or cause the loss of time-saving opportunities.

2020 Tax CalendarayIncome Tax Returns

Not all types of businesses have the same filing deadline for their income tax returns:

  • If you are a calendar-year partnership or limited liability company with two or more members, Form 1065 for 2019 is due by March 15, 2020.
  • If you are an S corporation, Form 1120-S is also due by March 15, 2020.
  • Are you a calendar-year C corporation? Then your Form 1120 for 2019 is due on April 15, 2020.
  • The filing deadline for your personal income tax return, Form 1040 or 1040-SR, including Schedule C for your sole proprietorship or Schedule F for your farming business, is due on April 15, 2020.

If you cannot file the return by the applicable due date on the 2020 tax calendar, an automatic 6-month filing extension is available. The request is filed by the return’s due date.

Employment Tax Returns

Form 941 is an employer’s quarterly federal return for withholding and Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes, for the final quarter of 2019 is due January 31, 2020. The due dates for Form 941 for 2020 are the end of the month following the close of the quarter to which the form relates: April 30, 2020, July 31, 2020, November 2, 2020 (October 31 is a Saturday), and February 1, 2021 (January 31 is a Sunday). If taxes have been timely deposited in full, the due date is extended to the 10th day of the second month following the end of the quarter (e.g., May 10 for the first quarter if taxes have been deposited in full).

If you have been filing the annual Form 944 (the 2019 form is due on January 31, 2020) instead of the quarterly Form 941 and need to switch for 2020 because you expect payments for the year to exceed $2,500, you can’t simply do this on your own. You have to get the IRS’s approval. You have until April to contact the IRS and request a change by calling 800-829-4933.

For federal unemployment tax, do an annual filing. The due date for filing Form 940 for 2019 is January 31, 2020. However, if you deposited all your FUTA tax when it was due, you can file Form 940 by February 10, 2020.

Estimated Taxes

If you are self-employed (sole proprietor, independent contractor, partner, or LLC member) and pay estimated taxes, the final installment of estimated tax for 2019 is due January 15, 2020. The payment due dates for 2020 are April 18, 2020, June 15, 2020, September 15, 2020, and January 15, 2021. The final payment does not have to be made if the income tax return is filed by January 31.

There’s a special estimated tax rule for farmers and fishermen who are on a calendar year and receive at least two-thirds of their gross income this year or last from farming or fishing. They only have to make one estimated tax payment for 2019, which is due on January 15, 2020.

Don’t send the first installment for 2020 with your 2019 income tax return.

You can avoid late payments because you’re traveling or simply forget by scheduling estimated taxes for Form 1040 or 1040-SR in advance. You can do this up to 365 days in advance if you opt to pay through EFTPS.gov. Find out more about EFTPS.gov in IRS Publication 966.

Information Returns

Provide employees with W-2s. Independent contractors get 1099-MISCs for 2019 services by January 31, 2020. (Note that for services by independent contractors in 2020, the form to use is 1099-NEC, which replaces 1099-MISC for this purpose.) January 31 is also the date that transmittals of these forms are due to the Social Security Administration (for W-2s) and the IRS (for 1099-MISCs showing nonemployee compensation).

Ask for a 30-day filing extension. Do this by submitting Form 8809 by January 31. But realize it will only be granted in extreme situations. For example, you suffered a catastrophic event in a federally declared disaster area. Or you experienced a fire, casualty or other natural disaster. Other examples of situations in which an extension  might be granted include illness, death or unavoidable absence of the person responsible for filing the forms. File as soon as possible to minimize late filing penalties.

Employee Benefit Notices

Do you plan to offer employee benefit programs? Examples might include a 401(k) plan or an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA). Then provide certain notice to employees about their eligibility to participate and other matters. Some examples:

  • For 401(k)s that begin on January 1, 2021, notice must be given no later than December 2, 2020. That’s 30 days before the start of the year. Notice can be given up to 90 days before the start of the year.
  • For ICHRAs that begin on January 1, 2020, notice is required at least 90 days before the beginning of the ICHRA’s plan year. ICHRAs are new for 2020. So they may not necessarily begin on January 1. Watch the 90-day notice requirement.


View an online calendar from the IRS. Alternatively, subscribe to receive calendar alerts from the IRS. Also, include the dates for state tax obligations (e.g., state unemployment insurance).

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