With tax-filing deadline nearing, IRS says about 50 million still need to file

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IR-2019-72, April 12, 2019

WASHINGTON — With the April tax-filing deadline just days away, the Internal Revenue Service reminds the 50 million taxpayers who have yet to file their tax returns that there are a variety of options to help them in the final days of tax-filing season.

About 153 million individual tax returns for the 2018 tax year are expected to be filed during 2019, with millions expected just before the April tax deadline. The deadline to file 2018 individual tax returns and pay taxes owed is Monday, April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. Because of local holidays, the deadline for taxpayers living in Maine or Massachusetts is April 17, 2019.

IRS tax help is available anytime on IRS.gov. Whether filing a tax return, requesting an extension or making a payment, the IRS website can help last-minute filers on just about everything related to filing taxes.

Information about free e-file options, such as IRS Free File, how to request an automatic six-month filing extension or fast, secure ways to pay any tax due using IRS Direct Pay are available online at IRS.gov.

The busiest part of tax season begins this week, with millions of people planning to file. By April 5, the IRS had received more than 103 million tax returns and issued almost 78 million tax refunds totaling $220.8 billion. The average refund to date is $2,833.

Additional filing season numbers:

  • The IRS expects to receive about 14.8 million individual income tax returns for the week ending April 12, and most are expected to be filed electronically.
  • On top of those 14.8 million tax returns, the IRS expects to receive another 18.3 million tax returns the following week.
  • Overall, this year, the IRS expects to receive about 14.6 million extension requests from taxpayers, many of them in the final days of filing season. The vast majority of the Forms 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, being filed electronically.

Tax preparation help

Individual taxpayers have several options for filing their tax returns electronically and many are free:

  • IRS Free File and Fillable Forms: Taxpayers with income of $66,000 or less will find one or more free tax preparation software options available only through Free File on IRS.gov. All taxpayers including those with incomes above $66,000 and comfortable doing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms.
  • Free Tax Return Preparation Sites: The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help and e-file for taxpayers who qualify. Many VITA and TCE sites operate by appointment so call soon, appointment-only sites tend to fill up fast late in the tax-filing season. You can find your nearest VITA or TCE site here.
  • Commercial Software: A variety of tax preparation software to prepare and file taxes is available for purchase online and through retail outlets.
  • Authorized E-File Providers: An e-file provider is an IRS approved tax professional that is qualified to prepare, process, and transmit electronic tax returns.

In addition, IRS.gov has tax forms and instructions to download, print, sign and mail. Taxpayers can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to answer many tax questions they may encounter.

Get an extension

The IRS offers extra time to file, automatically, to all taxpayers requesting it. A filing extension allows taxpayers until Oct. 15 to gather, prepare and file their taxes with the IRS. However, it does not extend the time to pay any tax due.

Applying for an extension of time to file is easy – and free. Individual tax filers can e-file their extension form for free using Free File. They can also get an extension by paying an estimate of their income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card. This way taxpayers won’t have to file a separate extension form and they will receive a confirmation number for their records.

Taxpayers can also request an extension through a paid tax preparer, tax-preparation software or by mailing a paper Form 4868. If mailing a Form 4868, the form must be mailed to the IRS with a postmark on or before the April tax-filing deadline.

Make a payment

When paying taxes this year keep in mind:

  • Electronic payment options are the quickest and easiest way to make a tax payment.
  • IRS Direct Pay is a free, easy way to pay online directly from a checking or savings account.
  • Taxpayers can choose to pay with a credit or debit card although the payment processor will charge a processing fee. No fees go to the IRS.
  • The IRS2Go app provides the mobile-friendly payment options, Direct Pay and Card payments on mobile devices.
  • Taxpayers can pay using their tax software when they e-file. If using a tax preparer, ask the preparer to make the tax payment electronically.
  • Taxpayers may also enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and have a choice of using the internet or phone by using the EFTPS Voice Response System.
  • Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/account to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, access their tax records online, review their payment history and view key tax return information for the most recent tax return as originally filed.