Paying taxes is something all of us who earn income have to do, and knowing when they're due could help you avoid hiccups. Each year, the default tax-filing deadline is April 15, and 2021 is no exception.

Sometimes, it happens that April 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday. When that's the case, the tax-filing deadline is pushed back by a day or two, as needed. In other words, if April 15 is a Saturday, the IRS won't move the deadline up to Friday the 14th. Instead, it will push back the deadline to the following Monday. But in 2021, April 15 falls on a Thursday, so you should plan on having your tax return done by then.

Person filling out form next to laptop while typing on calculator

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Will the IRS extend the 2021 tax-filing deadline because of the pandemic?

Many people were thrown for a loop this year when the coronavirus outbreak exploded in March. As such, the IRS allowed filers a three-month extension and pushed the tax-filing deadline back to July 15. Not only were filers given three extra months to submit a tax return, but they were also given three more months to pay any tax debt they owed from 2019 without incurring interest or penalties on that sum.

But whether the IRS allows for a similar extension in 2021 is yet to be determined. Even though there are several promising coronavirus vaccines in the pipeline, they may not be rolled out to the general public until mid-2021 or even beyond. As such, there's a good chance the pandemic will still be an issue by the time next year's April 15 tax-filing deadline comes along.

That said, this year, the pandemic caught everyone by surprise. Next year, it won't be a surprise -- it will constitute more of an ongoing situation, and so tax-filers should, conceivably, have the means to work around it. In fact, many tax professionals have shifted to online services and have secure portals where clients can submit tax documents, so even if in-person meetings aren't safe in the months leading up to April 15, 2021, filers should still have a way to get their taxes done on time.

Of course, those who don't manage to complete their taxes by April 15 of next year can always request a six-month extension. The IRS grants these extensions automatically for filers who ask for one. But tax extensions don't actually give filers more time to pay an overdue tax debt -- they simply allow them to take extra time to submit a return without incurring a failure-to-file penalty.

Get a head start on your 2021 tax return

Chances are, the world will still be fairly unsettled by the time taxes are due in 2021. Your best bet, therefore, is to get the ball rolling on your return as early as possible. Usually, you'll get the tax forms you need, like your W-2 and 1099s, by the end of January. Once you do, you can begin working with your tax preparer to get your return going (or if you're filing one solo, you can begin the process yourself).

Remember, too, that you're allowed to submit a tax return ahead of the filing deadline, and the sooner you do, the quicker you'll get a refund if you're owed money. The IRS generally starts accepting tax returns in late January, so if you wind up ahead of the game, you could be in line for a lump sum of money a lot sooner than most filers.