When Does a Corporation Have to File a Federal Income Tax Return?

by Alia Nikolakopulos

Corporate income tax returns are due on the 15th day of the third month following the close of a tax year. The actual due date of your federal business tax return depends on if your company operates under a calendar or fiscal tax year.

Calendar Year Corporation

If you operate your corporation on a calendar year basis, your business income tax return is due to the IRS on March 15. If you operate on a calendar year basis, you record business income and expense activity from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. In addition, if you operate an S Corporation, you must provide each shareholder a Form K-1 by the due date of your S Corporation tax return. The K-1 form details the pass-through activity a shareholder must report on her personal tax return.

Fiscal Year Corporation

If you elect to use a fiscal year to record your operating activity, your corporate income tax return is due the 15th day of the third month following the close of your fiscal tax year. For example, if you elect a fiscal year that ends in July, your operating year runs from Aug. 1 through July 31. In this scenario, your tax return is due Oct.15.

Corporate Dissolution

If you dissolve your corporation, you must file your final corporate income tax return by the 15th day of the third month following the dissolution. For example, if you formally dissolve your corporation on June 1, your final corporate income tax return is due on Sept. 15. This rule only applies to corporations that dissolve with the state of operations. If your corporation is still open, but inactive, you have regular filing requirements.

Extensions

You can request a six-month extension of time to file your corporate income tax return if you submit IRS Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information and Other Returns, before the date your return is regularly due. Most states do not require that you file an additional state extension when you file a federal request; however some states do require separate notification. Check the rules of your state Department of Revenue if you file a federal extension.

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