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September 15th Is the Worst Tax Return Filing Deadline

Much like Ben Affleck, April 15th is overrated and overexposed. As a tax return filing deadline, April 15th enjoys media attention and is ubiquitous in the minds of the average American when (s)he thinks about big, scary filing deadlines.

This is wrong. April 15th is merely a pitstop, a formality; it is wholly inconsequential in the life of most accountants who deal with tax return filing deadlines.

Most accountants know this. Yes, there are some who fawn all over the national attention that is bestowed on the profession every year around April 15th and it's pathetic. Those people — YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE — should be ashamed of themselves.

In reality, most tax people don't care about April 15th because they file extensions days and even weeks prior to the deadline. The real deadlines are in the fall and today, September 15th, is the worst of them all. Time has run out. There are no more extensions. There is no more, "Christ, this thing is a mess. I'll work on it over the summer." All partnership, corporate, trust and estate returns must be filed by today.

Now, it's worth noting that the highway funding bill that was signed into law this past summer will change things a bit:

For partnership returns, the new due date is March 15 (for calendar-year partnerships) and the 15th day of the third month following the close of the fiscal year (for fiscal-year partnerships). (Currently, these returns are due on April 15, for calendar-year partnerships.) The act directs the IRS to allow a maximum extension of six months for Forms 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income.

For C corporations, the new due date is the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the corporation’s year. (Currently, these returns are due on the 15th day of the third month following the close of the corporation’s year.)

Corporations will be allowed a six-month extension, except that calendar-year corporations would get a five-month extension until 2026 and corporations with a June 30 year end would get a seven-month extension until 2026.

The new due dates will apply to returns for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015. However, for C corporations with fiscal years ending on June 30, the new due dates will not apply until tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2025.

This means that September 15th will be slightly less awful starting next year, but as things stand, your definitive ranking of tax return filing deadlines is as follows:

1. September 15th: At this very moment (in my vivid imagination), accountants all over this great land are fighting off panic attacks because some of their most demanding shithead clients gave them everything yesterday. This forces many CPA superheros to work all-nighters to ensure that everything is done in time. The stress crushes every fiber of your being. Many hope for a quick death and never receive it.  

2. October 15th: By this point, people are numb but it's still sucks when some clown shows up with 30 K-1s and goes, "Hey! I totally forgot to get you this stuff."

3. March 15th: "Let's go watch basketball."

4. April 15th: "Let's go to lunch for two hours and drink ourselves blind."

In sum: UP YOURS, April 15th, you phony, spotlight-seeking sham of a tax return deadline. You got nothing on September 15th.