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No more delays: What to know about the July 15 tax deadline

No more delays: What to know about the July 15 tax deadline
Posted at 3:18 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 15:30:57-04

Tax procrastinators, your time is running out.

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold this spring, the federal government postponed the traditional April 15 filing deadline until July 15.

The move provided some economic and logistic relief for taxpayers dealing with the disruptions and uncertainty brought on by lockdowns, school closures and shuttered businesses. But now that new deadline is a day away.

Taxpayers must file or seek an extension by the new deadline or face a penalty.

The IRS is expecting about 150 million returns from individuals and as of last count, it had received almost 142 million.

IRS suggests filing electronically to avoid common errors

Officials say filing electronically and choosing direct deposit remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.

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

An inaccurate tax return can delay a refund. In most cases, tax software helps to reduce or eliminate common errors.

How to pay taxes

Taxpayers can pay online, by phone or with their mobile device in the IRS2Go app. When paying federal taxes electronically taxpayers should remember:

  • Electronic payment options are the optimal way to make a tax payment.
  • They can pay when they file electronically using tax software online. If using a tax preparer, taxpayers should ask the preparer to make the tax payment through an electronic funds withdrawal from a bank account.
  • IRS Direct Pay allows taxpayers to pay online directly from a checking or savings account for free.
  • Taxpayers can choose to pay with a credit card, debit card or digital wallet option through a payment processor. The processor may charge a fee. No fees go to the IRS.
  • The IRS2Go app provides the mobile-friendly payment options, including Direct Pay and payment processor payments on mobile devices.
  • Taxpayers may also enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) and have a choice of paying online or by phone by using the EFTPS Voice Response System.

File tax return by July 15 even if you can’t pay in full

The IRS says everyone should file their 2019 tax return by the July 15 tax filing deadline regardless of whether or not they can pay in full.

Taxpayers who owe and can't pay all taxes due have options including:

  • Online Payment Agreement — Most individual taxpayers and many business taxpayers may qualify to use Online Payment Agreement to set up a payment plan. Taxpayers can setup a plan on IRS.gov/paymentplan in a matter of minutes. Setup fees may apply for some types of plans.
  • Delaying Collection — If the IRS determines a taxpayer is unable to pay, it may delay collection until the taxpayer's financial condition improves. In light of COVID-19, IRS postponed many compliance efforts until July 15 or later under the People First Initiative.
  • Offer in Compromise (OIC) — Taxpayers who qualify enter into an agreement with the IRS that settles their tax liability for less than the full amount owed.

Need an extension? File for one by July 15

Those who need more time to prepare their 2019 federal tax return can apply for an extension of time to file. An extension of time to file does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes owed. File an extension request, estimate and pay any owed taxes by the July 15 deadline to avoid possible penalties.

Individual tax filers, regardless of income, can use Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension. Filing this form gives the taxpayer until October 15 to file a return. To get the extension, the taxpayer must estimate their tax liability on this form and pay any amount due

Most refunds issued in less than 21 days

The IRS is processing electronic and paper tax returns and issuing refunds. They’re normally issued in less than 21 days. Taxpayers who mailed a tax return will experience a longer wait time. There is no need to mail a second tax return or call the IRS.

Where's My Refund? is the most convenient way to check the status of a refund. It has a tracker that displays progress through three phases: (1) Return Received; (2) Refund Approved; and (3) Refund Sent.