Missed the tax-filing deadline?
While the federal income tax-filing deadline has passed for most people, there are some taxpayers still facing tax-related issues. This includes people who still haven’t filed, people who haven’t paid their taxes or those who are waiting for their tax refund.
Didn’t file by April 18?
There is no penalty for filing a late return after the tax deadline if a refund is due. Penalties and interest only accrue on unfiled returns if taxes are not paid by April 18. Anyone who did not file and owes tax should file a return as soon as they can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest.
Filing soon is especially important because the late-filing penalty on unpaid taxes adds up quickly. Ordinarily, this penalty, also known as the failure-to-file penalty, is usually 5 percent for each month or part of a month that a return is late.
But if a return is filed more than 60 days after the April due date, the minimum penalty is either $210 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax, whichever is less. This means that if the tax due is $210 or less, the penalty is equal to the tax amount due. If the tax due is more than $210, the penalty is at least $210.
In some instances, a taxpayer filing after the deadline may qualify for penalty relief. If there is a good reason for filing late, be sure to attach an explanation to the return.
Alternatively, taxpayers who have a history of filing and paying on time often qualify for penalty relief. A taxpayer will usually qualify for this relief if they haven’t been assessed penalties for the past three years and meet other requirements.
“Where’s My Refund?”
The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is available on IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. To use this tool, taxpayers need the primary Social Security number on the return, the filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, etc.) and the expected refund amount. The tool updates once daily, usually overnight, so checking more frequently will not yield different results.
Because of the far-reaching tax changes taking effect this year, the IRS urges all employees, including those with other sources of income, to perform a paycheck checkup now. Doing so now will help avoid an unexpected year-end tax bill and possibly a penalty. The easiest way to do that is to use the newly-revised Withholding Calculator, available on IRS.gov.
Owe taxes or need to make a payment?
Taxpayers who owe taxes can view their balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply online for a payment plan, including an installment agreement. Before accessing their tax account online, users must authenticate their identity through the Secure Access process. Several other electronic payment options are available on IRS.gov/payments. They are secure and easy to use. Taxpayers paying electronically receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment. Also, with Direct Pay and EFTPS, taxpayers can opt in to receive email notifications about their payments.
Need to fix an error on a return?
After filing their return, taxpayers may determine that they made an error or omitted something from their return. Usually an amended return is not necessary if a taxpayer makes a math error or neglects to attach a required form or schedule. Normally the IRS will correct the math error and notify the taxpayer by mail. Similarly, the agency will send a letter requesting any missing forms or schedules. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant — Should I File an Amended Return? — to help determine if they should file an amended return to correct an error or make other changes to their return. (See amend a tax return bellow)
Need help responding to an IRS notice or letter?
An IRS notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give instructions on how to handle the issue. Taxpayers can call the phone number provided in the notice if they still have questions.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Taxpayers have fundamental rights under the law. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights presents these rights in 10 categories. These rights protect taxpayers when they interact with the IRS. Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, highlights these rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them.
Watch out for scams
Again – The IRS will never make an initial, unsolicited contact via email, text or social media on filing, payment or refund issues. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. Any email that appears to be from the IRS about a refund or tax problem is probably an attempt by scammers to steal personal or financial information.
Amend a Tax Return
Taxpayers who discover they made mistakes or omissions on their tax return can correct them by filing an amended tax return. Those who need to amend should remember these tips:
- File using paper form. Use Form 1040X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct the tax return. Taxpayers can’t file amended returns electronically. Mail the Form 1040X to the address listed in the form’s instructions.
- Amend to correct errors. File an amended tax return to correct errors or make changes to an original tax return; for example, taxpayers should amend to change their filing status or to correct their income, deductions or credits.
- Don’t amend for math errors, missing forms. Taxpayers generally don’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors on their original return. The IRS will automatically correct these items. In addition, taxpayers don’t need to file an amended return if they forgot to attach tax forms, such as a Form W-2 or a schedule. The IRS will mail a request to the taxpayer, if needed.
- File within three-year time limit. Taxpayers usually have three years from the date they filed the original tax return to file Form 1040X to claim a refund. Taxpayers can file it within two years from the date they paid the tax, if that date is later.
- Use separate forms for each year. Taxpayers who are amending more than one tax return must file a Form 1040X for each tax year. They should mail each year’s Form 1040X in separate envelopes to avoid confusion. Taxpayers should check the box for the calendar year or enter the other calendar year or fiscal year they are amending. The form’s instructions have the mailing address for the amended return.
- Attach other forms with changes. Taxpayers who use other IRS forms or schedules to make changes must attach them to the Form 1040X.
- Wait to file for corrected refund for tax year 2017. Taxpayers who are due refunds from their original tax year 2017 return should wait to get it before filing Form 1040X to claim an additional refund. Amended returns may take up to 16 weeks to process.
- Pay additional tax. Taxpayers who will owe more tax should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to avoid penalties and interest.
- Track amended return. Generally, taxpayers can track the status of their amended tax return three weeks after they file. The tool can track the status of an amended return for the current year and up to three previous years. Taxpayers who have filed amended returns for multiple years can check each year, one at a time. Allow up to 16 weeks for processing