Don’t wait to file: IRS encourages taxpayers with October filing extensions and others who still need to file

File electronically when ready; speeds refunds, avoids added interest, penalties

IR-2022-116, June 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging taxpayers who have yet to file their 2021 tax return – including those who requested an extension of time – to file a complete and accurate return electronically as early as possible once they have all their information together. There's no need to wait until the October deadline.

Taxpayers who requested an extension have until October 17 this year to file their tax return. However, if a taxpayer has all the necessary information to file an accurate return, filing before summer vacation can be a win-win.

"IRS employees continue working hard to process tax returns and address our inventory issues," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "We continue to urge people to file electronically and do it as soon as possible. Even if people have an extension to file until October, sending the tax return as soon as possible can either help get them a refund quicker or it can save them money if they owe by avoiding additional interest and penalties."

Filing electronically as soon as possible can also help taxpayers who did not file an extension and missed the April deadline to avoid further penalties and interest if they owe taxes.

File electronically and choose direct deposit

Generally, people who choose not to file a tax return because they didn't earn enough money to be required to file won't receive a penalty if they are owed a refund. But they may miss out on receiving a refund if they don't file. The IRS advises individuals who still need to file a 2021 tax return to file electronically and, if due a refund, to choose direct deposit.

Filing electronically is fast, accurate and secure, and when an individual chooses direct deposit, their refund goes directly from the IRS into their bank or financial account getting them their refund in the fastest time possible. If they have a prepaid debit card, they may be able to have their refund applied to the card by providing the account and routing numbers to the IRS. The IRS processes most e-filed returns and issues direct deposit refunds in less than three weeks.

Here's a tip to help with e-filing a 2021 tax return for those still waiting on their 2020 tax return to be processed: To validate and successfully submit an electronically filed tax return to the IRS, taxpayers need their Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI, from their most recent tax return. Those waiting on their 2020 tax return can still file their 2021 return by entering $0 for their 2020 AGI on their 2021 tax return. Remember, if using the same tax preparation software as last year, this field will auto-populate.

Taxpayers who haven't filed a 2021 tax return yet – including extension filers – can file electronically any time before the October deadline and avoid the last-minute rush to file.

Find help on

People may be waiting to file because they need help or more information, have a more complicated tax situation, or owe taxes. The IRS has resources to help taxpayers get the answers they need so they can file an accurate return. Take the time to file an accurate tax return, but don't wait until the last minute and risk missing the October deadline.

Tools on the IRS website are easy to use and available 24 hours a day. Millions of people use them to find information about their accounts, get answers to tax questions or file and pay taxes. The online tools include important, special steps related to Economic Impact Payments and advance Child Tax Credit payments. has many online tools and resources ranging from tax preparation and refund tracking tools, to tax law research tools like the Interactive Tax Assistant and answers for Frequently Asked Questions on dozens of subjects.

Payment options

Submitting a tax return and paying any amount owed as soon as possible can help taxpayers avoid further interest and penalties.

Taxpayers who owe taxes can review all payment options online. These include paying taxes through an Online Account with IRS Direct Pay or paying by debit card, credit card or digital wallet. The IRS has options for people who can't pay their taxes, including applying for a payment plan on

IRS Free File

Eligible individuals – including those who requested an extension to file – can use the IRS Free File program to prepare and file their federal tax return for free. The program offers 70% of all taxpayers the choice of several brand-name tax preparation software packages to use at no cost. Those who earned less than $73,000 in 2021 can choose which package is best for them. Some even offer free state tax return preparation. Those that earned more have the option to use IRS Free File Fillable Forms.

MilTax online software is also available for members of the military and certain veterans, regardless of income. This software is offered through the Department of Defense. Eligible taxpayers can use MilTax to prepare and electronically file their federal tax returns and up to three state returns, for free.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program still offers face-to-face help preparing taxes in some locations in communities across the country. It offers free basic tax return preparation to people who generally make $58,000 or less and people with disabilities or limited English-speaking taxpayers.

The VITA/TCE Site Locator can help eligible taxpayers find the nearest community-based site staffed by IRS-trained and certified volunteers. Taxpayers can use the locator tool to see if there's an available site still open near them.

Tax professionals

Many people use a trusted tax professional to help guide them through the process of doing their taxes and avoiding errors.

There are various types of tax return preparers, including certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys and many others who don't have a professional credential.

Because tax professionals have access to an individual's personal and financial information, it's important to choose a tax preparer wisely.

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