Procrastinators, we know what you’ll be doing this weekend: Your taxes.
The deadline for filing and paying your federal income taxes in the U.S. was pushed from the traditional April 15 to July 15, aka this coming Wednesday. Throngs of Americans will have their W-2s, 1099s, expenses and charity receipts, bank documents, etc., strewn all over their kitchen tables, as they rush to make the cutoff. In honor of the big day, here are seven things you need to know about this year’s unusual Tax Day.
Why did this happen?
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced back in mid-March that the deadline was extended, because of the COVID-19 outbreak. People who live and work outside the U.S. usually have to meet a June 15 deadline, but that’s also delayed until July 15.
Can I get another extension?
Yes. You need to file a Form 4868, or if you’re a business, a Form 7004. That’ll get you until October 15. In a normal year, filing an extension by April 15 scores you an extra six months to file—but not pay—your taxes.
What happens if I miss the July 15 deadline?
Penalties and interest start to accrue the next day.
What about my state taxes?
All states with personal income taxes extended their April 15 due dates, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. What the new date is differs by state.
Should I file a paper or an electronic return?
If you’re due a refund and want your money quicker, opt for the latter. The IRS says if you do that and choose direct deposit as the way you want to receive your refund, it likely will be in your hands in fewer than 21 days versus six weeks or more for a paper return.
Is it just me or is it harder to get in touch with the IRS to ask a question?
You’re not imagining it. The pandemic has hobbled the IRS in a number of ways. Among the issues were that it couldn’t have people man the phone lines, there was no face-to-face customer service, about 10 million pieces of mail were backlogged, and the source of preprinted forms (the National Distribution Center) was shuttered, according to a June report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS.
Why is April 15 Tax Day anyway?
It wasn’t always. Back in 1913, Congress made March 1 the big day. Five years later, it was moved to March 15. In 1955, April 15 became the Tax Day we know and love.