Happy Tax Day.
If one good thing could be said about 2020 (so far) it’s that you have had two chances to procrastinate on filing your taxes. That’s because in mid-March, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue extended the tax filing deadline for this year from April 15 to July 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) extended the filing date to today as well.
But, as always, the payment comes due. And it’s due today.
April 15 wasn’t always the day that all taxpayers—DIY and professional—dread. Congress originally declared March 1 as Tax Day in 1913. Then, five years after that, the date was March 15. It wasn’t until 1955 that April 15 became the modern Tax Day.
The good news: If you still haven’t done your taxes, or had a licensed accountant do them for you, you can still file an extension with the IRS using Form 4868, or a Form 7004 if you’re a business. For California taxes, take a look at the FTB’s COVID-19 Extensions page for dates information.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind today:
What happens if you don’t file? Penalties and interest start to accrue the next day.
Paper or electronic? If you’re getting a refund, you’ll get it faster if you choose e-filing. According to the IRS, if you e-file and choose Direct Deposit, you should get your money in about 21 days. If you file by paper, it can take up to six weeks.
You may not be able to get to the IRS by phone today. The IRS has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic just like everything else has; according to a report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, issues included problems with not having people man the phone lines, no face-to-face customer service, a backlog of about 10 million pieces of mail, and the temporary shutdown of the National Distribution Center, which stores the preprinted IRS forms. The IRS website has a lot of information, including instructions, forms, and other tools that can help you file.
The FTB has a host of online assistance, including CalFile, the electronic filing system. FTB’s CalFile page allows you to e-file directly online, and information on ways and sources to help you e-file for free.
Midnight is fast approaching; better get going!
Looking for a tax preparer? Beware of scams; read “Free Tax Filing? Be Careful Where You Click
What Do Accountants Do? Read “Count on Certified Public Accountants”