Extension filers: IRS Free File, other resources available until Oct. 15 for 2020 tax returns

COVID Tax Tip 2021-114, August 5, 2021

The IRS reminds taxpayers who filed extensions for their 2020 tax return that electronic filing, payment and other options for help with taxes are available until the October 15 deadline. While there is no penalty for filing after the deadline if a refund is due, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay taxes.

Taxpayers who owe tax – even those who did not request an extension - and have yet to file a 2020 tax return can generally avoid additional penalties and interest by filing the return as soon as possible and paying any balance due. Even if a taxpayer can't afford to immediately pay the taxes they owe, they should still file a tax return as soon as possible to reduce possible penalties.

Here are some of the tools available on IRS.gov to help people with their taxes:

  • IRS Free File and other electronic filing options. Most taxpayers can file their tax return electronically for free through IRS Free File. Other electronic filing options include using a free tax return preparation site, commercial software or an authorized e-file provider. Some Free File products are available in Spanish. Filing electronically can also help taxpayers determine their earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and recovery rebate credit. If someone is eligible for a recovery rebate credit – and either didn't receive Economic Impact Payments or received less than the full amounts – they must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if they don't usually file.
  • Direct deposit for refunds. The fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to file electronically and use direct deposit. Taxpayers who do not have a bank account can visit the FDIC website or use the National Credit Union Administration's Credit Union Locator Tool for information on where to find a bank or credit union to open an account online.
  • Online payment options. If a taxpayer owes taxes, they should pay as much as possible as soon as possible to reduce interest and penalties. An extension to file is not an extension to pay. IRS Direct Pay allows individuals to securely pay from their checking or savings accounts. Visit IRS.gov for additional payment options.
  • Account information and tax records. Individual taxpayers can visit IRS.gov to manage their account. They can take a variety of actions including viewing their balance and payment history, paying taxes, accessing tax records through Get Transcript and more.

Some people may have a different deadline to file their tax return:

More information:

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