This year’s individual income tax filing deadline is just one week away, and there have been quite a few changes this year as the coronavirus pandemic gripped hold of the U.S., shutting down not only large parts of the U.S. economy but also some operations at the IRS.
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The Trump administration announced in March it would extend the filing deadline to July 15 from April 15 – marking the first time in history the deadline has been moved.
In the meantime, the IRS has also been tasked with sending out hundreds of millions of economic impact payments to American households as a means to help them financially during the domestic coronavirus outbreak.
While the administration has said it would not be extending the individual filing deadline beyond July 15, here are some other details last-minute filers need to know:
July 15 is the deadline for filing your federal return, but residents in most states must also file with their state.
Most states followed the federal government and extended their deadlines until July 15, too.
More information on specific state filing deadlines can be found here.
By filing for an extension by July 15 using Form 4868, a taxpayer will have an additional three months to prepare and file his or her paperwork – until Oct. 15.
Payers can also get an automatic extension when they pay all or part of their taxes electronically by July 15 and indicate the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or a credit or debit card. This way you won’t be required to file a separate extension form.
Don’t forget, filing for an extension does not mean you don’t have to pay. The IRS still expects people who file for an extension to pay an estimate of taxes owed by the deadline – or face penalties and interest.
For those individuals who plan to, or have already filed a paper return, the IRS has warned that there will likely be delays.
The IRS stopped processing paper returns at the end of March as it began adjusting operations in order to keep employees safe and to comply with coronavirus-related social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.
According to a recent report from National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins, the IRS had 20 million pieces of unopened mail as of May 16 – about half of which were paper returns. The agency estimated it had a backlog of about 4.7 million paper returns at that time.
The agency had only processed about 2.7 million paper returns as of May 22.
It is not clear when the IRS will resume processing paper returns, but it advised people not to file a second return if they have not yet received any response on their first.
Here’s a look at some other individuals who may face refund delays.
IRS refund bonus
On the bright side, individuals who waited to file their returns may receive a larger-than-expected refund.
The tax agency said it would pay interest on individual 2019 refunds for returns filed by July 15 – the delayed tax deadline. Interest will “generally be paid from April 15, 2020 until the date of the refund,” the IRS said.
Interest payments might be received separately from the refund itself.
The agency’s interest rate in the second quarter, ending June 30, is 5 percent per year compounded daily. For the third quarter, which ends Sept. 30, it is 3 percent per year.