Do I Have to File My State Taxes by April 15 If I Don't Owe?

File a tax return by April 15th even if you don't owe.
File a tax return by April 15th even if you don't owe. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

According to tax guidelines in most states, taxpayers must file state returns by April 15 even if you don't owe anything. If April 15 falls on a weekend or a holiday, you have until the following business day to file your return. A few states have deadlines later than April 15, and some don't require individuals to pay income tax at all.

Most States Have the April 15 Deadline

Most states have an annual tax return deadline the same as the federal government's due date. In those states, the only reason not to file an income tax return is if your income doesn't meet minimal income requirements. However, if you claim a refund, are self-employed or are entitled to tax credits, you must file a return even if you don't owe any tax.

States With Other Tax Deadlines

According to the New York State Society of CPAs in 2007, several states had tax filing deadlines later than the federal due date. For example, Hawaii required income tax returns to be filed by April 20. In Delaware and Iowa, state tax returns must be filed by April 30, and Virginia's deadline was May 1. Louisiana had the latest tax filing date, May 15. If a state filing deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, taxpayers have until the following business day to submit their tax returns.

States with No Income Tax

As of this article's date of publication, nine states do not tax earned income, thus a state tax return is not required. According to Kiplinger, those nine states are Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, New Hampshire and Alaska. Tennessee tax law says that individuals whose dividend and interest income exceeds $1,250 for single filers and $2,500 for joint filers, must file a state return by April 15. In New Hampshire, income tax is required on dividend and interest income that exceeds $2,400 for single filers and $4,800 for joint filers.


If you live in a state that requires a state income tax return and you don't file by the deadline, the state can impose fees and penalties even if you don't owe tax. If you are due a refund, a state generally will not issue the refund until the income tax return is filed and processed.

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