The tax filing deadline has come and gone. If you didn’t file a tax return or an extension, but should have, you need to take action now. Here are some tips to help you:
- There is no penalty for filing a late return after the tax deadline if a refund is due. If you didn’t file and owe tax, file a return as soon as you can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest.
- For those who qualify, IRS Free File is still available on IRS.gov through October 15 to prepare and file returns electronically.
- If you don’t qualify for IRS Free File, you can use Free File Fillable Forms to e-file. This option uses electronic versions of IRS paper forms. It does some of the math, and works best for those who are comfortable doing their own taxes.
- You can get fast answers about your refund by using the Where’s My Refund? tool available on IRS.gov and through the IRS2Go mobile app. All you need is your Social Security number, tax filing status and the exact amount of your refund. Where’s My Refund? is updated no more than once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you don’t need to check the status more often.
- If you owe taxes, you can view your balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply online for a payment plan, including an installment agreement. Before accessing your tax account online, you must authenticate your identity through the Secure Access process. Several other electronic payment options are available on IRS.gov/payments. They are secure and easy to use. If you pay electronically, you’ll receive immediate confirmation when you submit your payment. Also, with Direct Pay and EFTPS, you can opt in to receive email notifications about their payments.
- If you need more time to pay your taxes, you can apply for an installment agreement with the IRS. The best way to apply is to use the IRS Online Payment Agreement tool. Once you complete the online process, you’ll receive immediate notification of whether your agreement is approved.
No matter how or when you file, you should keep a copy of your tax return and all supporting documents.
Eric Cohen, CPA is the President and Founder of E. Cohen and Company CPAs, a full-service CPA firm serving nonprofit organizations, government contractors, professional service companies and other industries with audit, tax and business advisory services for over 26 years. The firm was commended as a SmartCPA Reader’s Choice by SmartCEO magazine and a “Best Accounting Firm to Work For” by AccountingToday magazine. For more information, visit www.ecohencpas.com or call 301-917-6200.