(ABC NEWS) – The pandemic is changing every part of American life including when taxes are due.
“This is a tax season like no other,” said Kathy Pickering of H&R Block.
Usually April 15 is the deadline, but this year the government gave taxpayers more time.
“The extension to July 15 was an automatic extension that came out of the CARES Act. Every taxpayer got it. They did not have to file for it,” said Alejandra Castro of the IRS.
Filing requires extra awareness.
“The H&R block offices are following social distancing protocols and deep cleaning so people can feel safe going into the office, but if they don’t there’s the ability to do it virtually,” added Pickering.
If you need more time you can file for an extension and your new filing date is October 15, but there are steep penalties if you forget to request an extension before Wednesday.
“That failure to file penalty is 10 times higher than the failure to pay penalties,” said Pickering.
Here are three ways to extend:
- Go to www. irs.gov and click on the tab that says,.”file for an extension”,
- Download form 4868 and mail it to the IRS before midnight on July 15
- Call your tax preparer and ask him or her to file an extension for you.
One important reminder:
“An extension to file is not and extension to pay,” says Castro.
If you owe money or think you may owe money to the government you still need to pay on time even if you’re filing for an extension.
Your best bet is to estimate what you owe and send in a check for that amount.
“The IRS will work with taxpayers who are going through a difficult financial situation, but the message is contact us, let us know what your story is. Let us know how we can help you,” Castro said.
There are some bright spots.
“A lot of people who haven’t yet filed are, in fact, getting refunds. And another extra bonus this year is that the IRS is actually giving you interest on those refunds. If you’re due a refund and you want that refund back in your pocket, as many Americans do, because they need the money more than ever, file electronically. Make sure your direct deposit information is in there and you are good to go,” said Vera Gibbons, a personal financial analyst.
By the way, the IRS will never contact you by text or phone or email. You’ll receive written correspondence. If you get a call asking to confirm your Social Security Number or any other personal information, hang up. It’s not the IRS.