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Friday, May 24, 2024

The Tax Deadline is Monday. Act Now to File, Pay or Request an Extension

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WASHINGTON — With the April 15 tax deadline looming, the IRS is reminding taxpayers there is still time to file federal income tax returns electronically and request direct deposit.

Filing electronically reduces tax return errors, according to the IRS, because tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information.

Most people qualify for electronic filing at no cost, it adds, and by choosing direct deposit, filers can receive their refund within 21 days.

Free electronic filing options

According to the IRS, taxpayers with an income of $79,000 or less in 2023 can use the IRS Free File guided tax software now through Oct 15. IRS Free Fillable forms, a part of this program, are also available at no cost to taxpayers at any income level and provide electronic forms for people to fill out and e-file themselves.

Through a network of community partnerships, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax return preparation to eligible people in the community by IRS-certified volunteers, the IRS notes. And MilTax, a Department of Defense program, generally offers free return preparation and electronic filing software for federal income tax returns and up to three state income tax returns for all military members, and some veterans, with no income limit.

Use Where’s My Refund? to check refund status

For those who already have filed and are expecting a refund, the Where’s My Refund? tool will normally show a refund status within 24 hours after e-filing a 2023 tax return, three to four days after e-filing a 2021 or 2022 return and four weeks after filing a tax return by mail, the IRS said. To use the tool, taxpayers need their Social Security number, filing status and exact refund amount.

Taxpayers can also check Where’s My Refund? by downloading the agency’s free mobile app, IRS2Go, from an iPhone or Android device. The tool updates once a day, so people don’t need to check more often.

Taxpayers that owe on their tax return

IRS reminds people they can avoid paying interest and some penalties by filing their tax return and, if they have a balance due, paying the total amount due by the tax deadline of Monday, April 15.

Payment options for individuals to pay in full

The IRS offers various options for taxpayers who are making tax payments:

  • Direct Pay — Make a payment directly from a checking or savings account without any fees or registration.
  • Pay with debit card, credit card or digital wallet — Make a payment directly from a debit card, credit card or digital wallet. Processing fees are paid to the payment processors. The IRS doesn’t receive any fees for these payments. Authorized card processors and phone numbers are available at IRS.gov/payments.
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) — This free service gives taxpayers a safe, convenient way to pay individual and business taxes by phone or online. To enroll and for more information, taxpayers can call 800-555-4477 or visit eftps.gov.
  • Electronic funds withdrawal — Taxpayers can file and pay electronically from their bank account when using tax preparation software or a tax professional. This option is free and only available when electronically filing a tax return.
  • Check or money order — Payments made by check or money order should be made payable to the “United States Treasury.”
  • Cash — Make a cash payment through a retail partner and other methods. The IRS urges taxpayers choosing this option to start early because it involves a four-step process. Details, including answers to frequently asked questions, are at IRS.gov/paywithcash.

Payment options for individuals unable to pay their taxes in full

Taxpayers who are unable to pay in full by the tax deadline should pay what they can now and apply for an online payment plan, the IRS said. They can receive an immediate response of payment plan acceptance or denial without calling or writing to the IRS.

Online payment plan options include:

  • Short-term payment plan — The total balance owed is less than $100,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest. Additional time of up to 180 days to pay the balance in full.
  • Long-term payment plan — The total balance owed is less than $50,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest. Pay in monthly payments for up to 72 months. Payments may be set up using direct debit, which eliminates the need to send in a payment each month, saving postage costs and reducing the chance of default. For balances between $25,000 and $50,000, direct debit is required.

Though interest and late-payment penalties continue to accrue on any unpaid taxes after April 15, the IRS notes the failure to pay penalty is cut in half while an installment agreement is in effect. Find more information about the costs of payment plans on the IRS’ Additional information on payment plans webpage.

Unable to file by the April 15 deadline?

Individuals unable to file their tax return by the tax deadline can apply for a tax-filing extension in the following ways:

Things people should know when requesting a tax-filing extension:

  • Tax-filing extension requests are due by the tax deadline date, and it does not give an extension of time to pay the taxes.
  • Avoid some penalties by estimating and paying the tax due by the tax deadline.
  • Special rules for tax deadlines and automatic tax-filing extensions may apply for taxpayers serving in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty areas, living outside the United States, and people living in certain disaster areas. They may not need to submit a tax-filing extension; however, people should check to see if they qualify before the tax deadline.

Use IRS.gov for the quickest and easiest information

The IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov 24 hours a day for answers to tax questions, more tips and resources by visiting the Let us help you page.

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