WASHINGTON (WLNS) – If you missed the July 15 tax deadline and forgot to request an extension, the Internal Revenue Service has some important tips to avoid potential penalties.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to file electronically as soon as possible, as well as potential extension to avoid penalties, fines and interest altogether.
Members of the military who served or currently serve in a combat zone, as well as support personnel or a contingency operation that supports armed forces, may qualify for a filing and payment extension of at least 180 days.
There is no penalty for filing after the deadline if a refund is due, but the only way to get a refund is to file a tax return. Until October 15, you can prepare and file returns using electronic options including IRS Free File (Warning: The website contains explicit language).
Tax prep companies misled millions of Americans into paying to file their taxes even though they could do it for free, so be sure you are not being charged a fee if you are looking for the free options on the IRS website. Taxpayers can also look for help from a tax professional.
The IRS currently has limited staffing, which creates delays in processing paper tax returns, but the IRS still accepts paper tax returns and will process them in the order it receives them. DO NOT FILE A SECOND TAX RETURN.
Taxpayers can track a refund using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. Taxpayers need the primary Social Security number on the tax return, the filing status and the expected refund amount. The tool updates once every day, usually overnight, so checking more frequently will not yield different results. The “Where’s My Refund?” tool cannot be used to track Economic Impact Payments.
Normally, taxpayers should file their tax return or request an extension and pay any taxes they owe by the deadline to avoid penalties and interest. Taxpayers need to remember that an extension to file is not an extension to pay. Penalties and interest will apply to taxes owed after July 15. Taxpayers who have a history of filing and paying on time often qualify for penalty relief.
Failure to pay is about 5% but if a return is filed more than 60 days after the due date, the minimum penalty could be $435.
Even if a taxpayer can’t afford to immediately pay the taxes they owe, they should still file a tax return as soon as possible to reduce possible penalties. The IRS has more information for taxpayers who owe the IRS but cannot afford to pay.