If I don't owe either federal or NY state tax,

  • is it correct that I don't need to file either federal or NY state tax by April 18, 2017, and don't need to file a special form for extension?

  • If yes, what is the actual deadline for federal or NY state tax?


2 Answers 2


There may exist special circumstances that require you to file in a timely fashion, but I'm not familiar with any scenarios for individual tax returns. In general there is no penalty for not filing on time so long as you don't owe, and no need to file an extension.

If you're claiming a refund, you have 3 years to file your federal return, so today would be the last day to file your 2014 return and get a refund. New York's e-file site shows that you can currently e-file 2014, 2015, and 2016, so it seems like they have the same 3 year deadline.

There technically is no limit on filing old returns that I'm aware of, but if you should have been filing for the last decade, the IRS would typically only request you file returns for the last 6 years and then would work out a payment plan for back taxes due.


You can't avoid filing forever because if your employer or some other organization files a W-2, or a 1099 that shows you had income the tax authority computer will be trying to match those submissions to a state/federal tax form.

At some point they will gather enough info to calculate your taxes. Of course they will assume that you were going to file single, with only the standard deduction with no dependents. Thus they will assume you owe them money. Even though you were planning on filing married, with a large itemized deduction, and you have 7 kids.

If you aren't ready to file by the deadline it is easy to get an extension.

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