Today is Tax Day. The IRS expects ‘tens of millions’ of returns to be filed at the last minute

Today is Tax Day. The IRS expects ‘tens of millions’ of returns to be filed at the last minute

It’s Tax Day in the United States for most Americans, and many people are still racing to file their 2023 income tax returns until the clock strikes midnight.

“With the April deadline, we’re seeing tax returns rolling in at the last minute. We’ve received more than 100 million [returns] and tens of millions more are being filed in the last few days,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel told reporters on Friday.

So if you’re a last-minute filer, you’re in good company — and even more so if you’re expecting a refund. Werfel noted that the agency had paid out more than $200 billion in refunds as of early April. Overall, two out of three filers are owed money, he said. Here are some last minute notes and tips to help you in your quest to file your federal return or get an extension to file without incurring a financial penalty. (Check your state’s tax revenue department site to see what to look out for when doing the same for your state return.)

Today might not be your actual filing deadline: Yes, April 15th is the big kahuna of the tax filing deadline for most people. But millions of Americans don’t need to file today because they’ve been granted an automatic extension if, for example, they live or do business in a federally declared disaster area or were affected by the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Or if they live in Massachusetts and Maine, which celebrate Patriots Day on April 15, or Washington, DC, which marks Emancipation Day on April 16. Americans living abroad automatically get an extra two months to file, until June 15. However, they must pay whatever they still owe the IRS for the 2023 tax year by April 15. US military personnel stationed overseas also get that two-month extension, and they may be eligible for other extensions – including extensions to pay – if they are in a combat zone.

File for automatic extension: Can’t get your act together in time to file your 1040 form by 11:59 tonight? Then request an automatic six-month extension by filling out this form, which will push your filing deadline to October 15, 2024. Werfel estimates 19 million last-minute filers will do just that. Without that extension, if you just file late and you still owe money to the IRS, you’ll be subject to failure-to-file penalties and interest on your delinquent balance.
Pay what you owe today, or at least some of it: Even if you get an extension to file, most people are required to pay whatever they still owe the IRS for the 2023 tax year by April 15.

So do your best to estimate that amount and send your payment — or at least a partial payment — tonight. Making payments will help you avoid, or limit, the failure to pay penalty and the interest you will be charged on the balance due. (Here are some tips for estimating how much you still owe if you haven’t yet filed a complete return.)

If the balance is unmanageable for you, there are options to work out a payment plan with the IRS to reduce your penalties and interest, which can otherwise compound quickly.

Review your work: To avoid any delays in processing your return (or repayment if you owe), and to avoid any headache-inducing interactions with the IRS after you file, make sure you get the basics right on your return.

Also make sure you answer the digital assets question on the first page of your 1040 and that you file the correct form that is required if, in fact, you have any taxable transactions with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

For example, make sure the following are correct: the spelling of your name, your address, your filing status, your Social Security number and your bank account number if you’re looking for direct deposit for a refund. Also double check your calculations. Do all of this even if you rely on a tax program or tax professional to prepare your return.

(Here are other last-minute tips and resources you can use from the IRS if you need help, have questions or want to file for free.)

Track your refundda: If you’re among the majority of tax filers due a refund and you haven’t received it yet, you can track its status by using the IRS Where’s My Refund? online tools

The average refund as of early April was $3,011, up $123 from a year ago. The turnaround time for the IRS to send them can be quick.

“The IRS has done a good job of getting refunds out quickly this year. … In most cases, people have gotten their refunds in just over a week. That’s important because for most people, this is the biggest inspection they’ve seen all year,” Werfel said.

(Looking for some ideas on how to put your refund to good use? Here are a few.)

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