WASHINGTON – As the April 17 tax filing deadline approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding the nearly 40 million taxpayers who have yet to file their tax returns that there are a variety of options to help them in the final days of the tax filing season.
IRS tax help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on IRS.gov. Whether filing a tax return, requesting an extension or making a payment, the IRS website can help last-minute filers on just about everything related to filing taxes.
Information about free e-file options, such as FreeFile, how to request an automatic six-month filing extension or fast and easy ways to pay any tax due using IRS Direct Pay are available online at IRS.gov.
The busiest part of tax season begins this week, with millions of people planning to file. Through April 6, the IRS has processed more than 101 million tax returns and issued more than 79.1 million tax refunds totaling $226.6 billion. The average refund to date is $2,864.
Additional filing season numbers:
- The IRS expects to receive about 14.9 million individual income tax returns for the week ending April 13, with about 13.1 million filed electronically.
- On top of those 14.9 million tax returns, the IRS expects to receive another 17 million tax returns the following week.
- Requests for extension are anticipated to exceed 11.6 million by next week, with the vast majority of those Forms 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, being filed electronically. Overall, this year, the IRS expects to receive more than 14 million extension requests from taxpayers.
Tax preparation help
IRS offers four electronic filing options for individual taxpayers.
- IRS Free File and Fillable Forms: Taxpayers with income of $66,000 or less, will find one or more free tax preparation software options available only through Free File on IRS.gov. Taxpayers with incomes above $66,000 comfortable doing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms.
- Free Tax Return Preparation Sites: The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free face-to-face tax help and e-file for taxpayers who qualify.
- Commercial Software: A multitude of tax preparation software to prepare and file taxes is available for purchase online and through retail outlets.
- Authorized E-File Providers: An e-file provider is an IRS approved tax professional that is qualified to prepare, process, and transmit electronic tax returns.
In addition, IRS.gov has the instructions and forms (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) to download, print, sign and mail by the April 17 deadline. Taxpayers can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to answer many tax questions they may encounter.
Get an extension
The IRS offers the extra time to file, automatically, to all taxpayers requesting it. A filing extension allows taxpayers until Oct. 15 to gather, prepare and file their taxes with the IRS. However, it does not extend the time to pay any tax due.
Applying for an extension of time to file is easy – and free. Individual tax filers can e-file their extension form for free using Free File. They can also get an extension by paying all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card. This way taxpayers won’t have to file a separate extension form and they will receive a confirmation number for their records.
Taxpayers can also request an extension through a paid tax preparer, tax-preparation software, by mailing a paper Form 4868. If mailing a Form 4868, the form must be mailed to the IRS with a postmark on or before April 17.
Make a payment
When paying taxes this year keep in mind:
- Electronic payment options are the quickest and easiest way to make a tax payment.
- IRS Direct Pay is a free, easy way to pay online directly from a checking or savings account.
- Taxpayers can choose to pay with a credit or debit card although the company that processes the payment will charge a processing fee.
- The IRS2Go app provides mobile-friendly payment options directly on a smart phone.
- Taxpayers can pay using their tax software when they e-file. If using a tax preparer, ask the preparer to make the tax payment electronically.
- Taxpayers may also enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and have a choice of using the internet or phone by using the EFTPS Voice Response System.
- Never send cash by mail. Taxpayers can make a cash payment without the need of a bank account or credit card at more than 7,000 7-Eleven stores nationwide IRS.gov/paywithcash.
- Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/account to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, access their tax records online, review the past 18 months of payment history, and view key tax return information for the most recent tax return as originally filed.