Filing frenzy hits as Tax Day countdown moves into the final hours

Exasperated man on Tax Day
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It’s Tax Day in the United States, a deadline that prompts a late surge in income tax filings. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel reported to journalists on Friday that over 100 million returns have already been filed, and many more are expected in the final hours.

“For those of you submitting at the last minute, you’re in good company, particularly if you’re anticipating a refund,” Werfel said. As of early April, the IRS has issued over $200 billion in refunds, with two-thirds of filers eligible to receive money back.

Here are essential tips and reminders for those making a last-minute dash to file their federal returns or to secure an extension to avoid penalties. Check your state’s tax revenue department website for specific guidelines on state returns.

Today might not necessarily be your filing deadline. While April 15 is generally the main tax filing deadline, various circumstances grant automatic extensions to some Americans. Those affected by federally declared disasters, the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, or living in Massachusetts and Maine (which observe Patriots Day on April 15), or Washington, D.C. (which celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16), may not need to file today. U.S. citizens residing overseas have until June 15 to file, though they must settle any outstanding taxes by today. Similarly, U.S. military personnel stationed abroad receive a two-month extension and possibly additional ones if they serve in combat zones.

If you can’t meet tonight’s deadline of 11:59 p.m. for filing your Form 1040, you can apply for an automatic six-month extension, which moves the deadline to October 15, 2024. Werfel notes that approximately 19 million taxpayers are expected to request extensions.

Failing to file without securing an extension, especially if you owe the IRS, results in a failure-to-file penalty and accruing interest on your due amount.

It’s crucial to pay any owed taxes by today or make a partial payment to minimize potential penalties and interest charges. If the amount due is overwhelming, consider arranging a payment plan with the IRS to lessen the financial impact.

Ensuring accuracy on your tax return is vital to avoid processing delays or issues after filing. Confirm the accuracy of personal details like your name, address, filing status, Social Security number, and bank details for refunds. Review your calculations and answer all required questions, such as those concerning digital assets and transactions involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

For additional guidance or if you have questions, the IRS provides resources and assistance, including options to file for free.

If you are expecting a refund and haven’t received it yet, use the IRS’s ‘Where’s My Refund?’ tool to track its status. As of early April, the average refund was $3,011, an increase from the previous year. According to Werfel, the IRS has efficiently processed refunds, with many taxpayers receiving them in just over a week.

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