If you do your taxes on paper and physically mail your forms, is April 18th:

A. The day you must have sent your tax paperwork in the mail

B. The day the IRS has to receive your tax paperwork by

C. The day you must have sent your payment in the mail

D. The day the IRS has to receive your payment by

Also, if you end up owing money in taxes, will you get a physical bill in the mail later?

  • I think they give you the benefit of the doubt as long as your envelope is postmarked by the due date. Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:01
  • 2
    It is worth noting (for anyone reading this in the future) that the April 18 date is only for this year. The normal due date for most years is April 15.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:12
  • @BenMiller updated title to be more generic
    – Adam Johns
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:15
  • 1
    @Tyler Durden: It's not "benefit of the doubt", it's law/regulation. In the days before e-filing, many post offices would stay open until midnight on April 15 so last-minute filers could beat the deadline. Don't know what's the equivalent for e-file, given different time zones.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 4:10
  • @jamesqf It's the time received by the 'Transmitter' e.g. Intuit H&RBlock etc 'adjusted' to the timezone where you 'reside' (I presume defined as your filing address). Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


April 18 is the deadline to either e-file your taxes or postmark your mailed copy, or to file an extension request (in which case you have until October). (This assumes you are a US resident; if you're a non-resident citizen, you may have a different, later deadline.)

IRS Topic 301:

Your return is considered filed timely if the envelope is properly addressed and postmarked by the due date.

Whether or not you submit an extension request, you must submit your payment similarly by April 18th (mail it or e-send it) in order to avoid penalties. Even if you file for an extension, you must send money equal to what you expect to owe approximately in order to avoid underpayment penalties.

When you owe a balance - You may pay any balance you owe via Direct Pay. Alternatively, you may enclose a check or money order with your paper return or, if you filed electronically, with the 2015 Form 1040-V (PDF), Payment Voucher


You will owe interest on any past-due tax and you may be subject to a late-payment penalty if the payment of tax is not made by the original due date of your return.

You will not get a physical bill, unless you fail to pay your owed taxes, in which case you will eventually get the collections department coming after you as with any other unpaid bill. See Topic 202:

If you are not able to pay the tax you owe by your original filing due date, the balance is subject to interest and a monthly late payment penalty. There is also a penalty for failure to file a tax return, so you should file timely even if you cannot pay your balance in full. It is always in your best interest to pay in full as soon as you can to minimize the additional charges.

  • If you do your taxes on paper, how do you know how much money to send? (I've only ever used TurboTax)
    – Adam Johns
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:02
  • 2
    @AdamJohns The paper form gets you to the same answer TurboTax does. You work out your adjusted gross income and your various deductions/credits/etc., then you either look it up in the tax tables or use the formula to calculate how much you owe. Most of the time the IRS doesn't have any involvement in calculating your tax due (unless you're audited of course).
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:05
  • One more question: When they say may be subject to a late-payment penalty, does that mean sometimes they don't charge a late-payment penalty?
    – Adam Johns
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:18
  • If you owe a small amount, you may not be subject to it, I believe - but that's probably a better question asked on its own as it's got some complexity to it. (You may owe a penalty if you pay on 4/18 even, if you owe too much, for not prepaying your taxes appropriately).
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:19
  • money.stackexchange.com/q/62964/12258
    – Adam Johns
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 17:25

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