SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – You have more time to file your taxes now, as the Internal Revenue Service has moved the deadline from the usual April 15 to May 17.
The federal agency has definitely been busy because of the pandemic. The IRS has been responsible for processing stimulus payments from 2020 and is now doing more stimulus checks as part of the new American Recovery Plan. At the same time, the IRS is processing tax returns and sending out refunds.
The start of the tax season was actually delayed until Feb. 12, and now there will be an extra month to complete your return.
“It just made sense, you know, if the beginning of tax season started late, then we should have some additional time to finish it,” said Lydia Desnoyers, who is a tax consultant.
Desnoyers says national Certified Public Accountant organizations requested a delay. She says one reason is that a lot of people still want to meet in person with a tax preparer but fear of COVID-19 delayed that.
“I know people who definitely want to meet in person,” said Desnoyers. “They are just accustomed to it and they feel like they can ask questions more easily or whatever the case may be.”
Incomes for many went down last month because of a lack of work or business due to the pandemic. In that case, many people may be owed refunds.
Desnoyers says just because you have a month longer, “you shouldn’t wait to file,” and says if you’re not sure whether you’re getting a refund or whether you may owe more in tax that you can always prepare the return to see. She says you don’t have to officially file it to get an idea of whether you are getting a refund or not.
She also says if you have not received the new stimulus, the timing of when you file your return might make a difference.
“If your income went up in 2020, then you may not want to file right away. You may want to let the IRS issue a stimulus based on your 2019 return,” she said.
Desnoyers says the best thing to do is to get your documents in order, and any other information needed. If you want to seek advice from a tax consultant, she says consider online meetings if you don’t want to go in person.
She also says the American Recovery Plan just signed into law by President Joe Biden also includes tax breaks for the millions who received unemployment benefits in 2020. Up to $10,200 is not taxable under the new guidelines.
Desnoyers says if you have already filed, you likely paid some tax on your unemployment benefits and may now be eligible for a credit or a refund. However, IRS recommends you do not file an amended return until after May 17.
Officials said that people can check the “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS.gov website to track their own payments. Taxpayers who have provided bank information with the IRS will receive the direct-deposit payments, while others will get paper checks or debit cards mailed to them.