This is a tax season like no other after being postponed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tax day is just two days away, here are some last minute tips for those of you who still have to file and want to avoid paying penalties.
“The extension to July 15 was an automatic extension that came out of the Cares Act. Every taxpayer got it. They did not have to file for it,” Alejandra Castro, from the IRS said.
Filing requires extra awareness.
“The H&R Block offices are following social distancing protocols and deep cleaning. So people can feel safe going into the office. But if they don’t, there’s the ability to do it virtually,” Kathy Pickering, from H&R Block said.
If you need more time, you can file for an extension and your new filing date is October 15, but there are steep penalties if you forget to request an extension before Wednesday.
“The failure to file penalty is 10 times higher than the failure to pay penalties,” Pickering said.
Here are three ways to extend:
- Go to irs.gov and click on the tab that says “File for an extension”
- Download form 4868 and mail it to the IRS before midnight on July 15.
- Call your tax preparer and ask them to file for an extension for you.
One important reminder,
“An extension to file is not an extension to pay,” Castro said.
If you owe money or think you may owe money to the government you still need to pay on time, even if you are filing for an extension.
Your best bet is to estimate what you owe and send in a check for that amount.
“The IRS will work with taxpayers who are going through a difficult financial situation. But the message is contact us. Let us know what your story is. Let us know how we can help you,” Castro said.
There are some bright spots.
“A lot of people who haven’t yet filed are, in fact, getting refunds. And another extra bonus this year is that the IRS is actually giving you interest on those refunds. If you’re due a refund and you want that refund back in your pocket, as many Americans do, because they need the money more than ever, file electronically, make sure your direct deposit information is on there and you are good to go,” said Vera Gibbons, personal financial analyst.
One more note, the IRS will never contact you by text, phone, or email.
If you get a call asking to confirm your social security number or any other personal information, hang up, it’s not the IRS and once again, the tax deadline is Wednesday.
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