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For Late Income Tax Filers, Time Is Almost Up

WHEELING — Americans had an extra month for filing their personal income tax returns this year, but returns and any taxes owed are due Monday.

Tax Day, which normally comes on April 15 each year, was extended to May 17 for 2021. While the clock is still ticking this weekend, doing one’s taxes at the last minute can be, well, taxing.

Brittany Benson, senior tax research analyst at The Tax Institute at H&R Block, suggests the biggest tax tip “is to file as soon as possible.”

Late filers can still file their taxes before midnight on Monday, and H&R Block and other tax preparing offices will be open that day “until the last client is served,” she said. There are also many tax preparing programs available online.

“Nearly every American has had financial questions this season because of the COVID pandemic and resulting tax law changes, and it’s best to get it all sorted out sooner rather than later,” she said.

The IRS hopes late filers used the extra time to compile needed documents, and enlist the help of financial experts if needed.

Those in need of additional time may request a further extension for filing their return, but the taxpayer is still responsible for paying any money due the government before the May 17 deadline.

“A tax expert can help you file an extension quickly if you’re not ready to file your taxes yet, but there are also ways to do it online if you can’t make it in.” Benson said.

“It’s important to keep in mind that filing an extension just extends the return. You still have to pay any tax due by the due date to avoid a penalty.”

There are three ways to request an automatic extension of time to file a U.S. individual income tax return, according to the IRS.

∫ The taxpayer can pay all or part of the estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or using a credit or debit card.

∫ The taxpayer can file Form 4868 electronically by accessing IRS e-file using their tax software or by using a tax professional who uses e-file.

∫ They can file a paper Form 4868 and enclose payment for the estimated tax they owe.

Americans received two rounds of economic stimulus checks in 2020, but this money is not taxable, according to the IRS. What is taxable, however, are any unemployment benefits the taxpayer received during the pandemic.

There also are no additional tax breaks built in this year to assist those whose earnings for 2020 were significantly less than in past years.

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