Attention extension filers: Tax help is available anytime on

COVID Tax Tip 2021-71, May 20, 2021

The deadline for taxpayers who requested an extension to file is going to be here before they know it. The deadline for these filers to submit their 2020 federal tax returns is Friday, October 15, 2021. The IRS has a variety of helpful tools and resources and many of them are available anytime on

Here are a few of them:

IRS Free File

Free File offers free access to brand-name tax software to anyone who makes $72,000 or less. There are nine Free File products in English and one in Spanish. Those who earned more can use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Free File is also a great way to get other tax benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Everyone should consider using Free File, especially those who didn't get the full first and second Economic Impact Payments and may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit when they file.

In addition, MilTax, is available free through the Department of Defense. It offers a similar online tax preparation service to members of the military.

Interactive Tax Assistant

This online tool provides answers to tax law questions.

Directory of Tax Return Preparers

For taxpayers who want help with their taxes, this tool can help them find a tax professional in their area.

Where's My Refund?

Taxpayers can check the status of their refund within 24 hours after the IRS has received their e-filed return. Once the IRS approves a refund, this tool will give the taxpayer a date by which to expect it. The IRS updates Where's My Refund? once a day, usually overnight, so there's no need to check the status more often. Agency employees can only research a taxpayer's refund status 21 days after the taxpayer filed electronically or if this tool directs the taxpayer to call the IRS.

Currently, it is taking the IRS longer to process mailed documents including paper tax returns and all tax return related correspondence. It is taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue refunds for some 2020 tax returns that require review including incorrect recovery rebate credit amounts, or that used 2019 income to figure the earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit.

Taxpayers who requested an extension can file when they are ready but should file by the October 15, 2021 deadline to avoid penalties and interest that might apply. In some cases, a taxpayer filing after the deadline may qualify for penalty relief. The IRS offers a variety of ways for taxpayers to pay their taxes.

Special deadline exceptions may apply for some disaster victims, certain military service members and eligible support personnel in combat zones.

More information:

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