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Some taxpayers may have extra time to file and pay any taxes due without penalties and interest.
/ A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo






















 
Published Tuesday, July 21, 2020

File now to avoid a bigger bill,
IRS advises


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services


For those who missed the July 15 tax deadline and didn't request an extension, the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, reminds taxpayers about some important tips, including filing electronically as soon as possible to reduce potential penalties.

According to the IRS, some taxpayers may have extra time to file and pay any taxes due without penalties and interest. These include:

• Members of the military who served or are currently in a combat zone. They qualify for an additional extension of at least 180 days to file and pay taxes.

• Support personnel in combat zones or a contingency operation in support of the Armed Forces. They may also qualify for a filing and payment extension of at least 180 days.

• Some disaster victims. Those who qualify have more time to file and pay what they owe.

And for those that have not done their annual taxes for 2019, the IRS offers these after-tax-day tips:

File to get a tax refund. The only way to get a refund is to file a tax return. There is no penalty for filing after the deadline if a refund is due. Use electronic filing options including IRS Free File available on IRS.gov through October 15 to prepare and file returns electronically.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that, while they continue to process electronic and paper tax returns, issue refunds, and accept payments, they’re experiencing delays in processing paper tax returns due to limited staffing. If a taxpayer filed a paper tax return, they will process it in the order it was received. Do not file a second tax return or call the IRS.

Taxpayers can track a refund using the “Where's My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954.

Taxpayers need the primary Social Security number on the tax return, the filing status and the expected refund amount. The tool updates once daily, usually overnight, so checking more frequently will not yield different results. The "Where's My Refund?" tool cannot be used to track Economic Impact Payments.

File to reduce penalties and interest. Normally, taxpayers should file their tax return, or request an extension, and pay any taxes they owe by the deadline to avoid penalties and interest. Taxpayers need to remember that an extension to file is not an extension to pay. Penalties and interest will apply to taxes owed after July 15.

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. The IRS has more information for taxpayers who owe the IRS, but cannot afford to pay.

Ordinarily, the failure-to-file penalty is 5% of the tax owed for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. But if a return is filed more than 60 days after the due date, the minimum penalty is either $435 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is less.

Filing and paying as much as possible is important because the late-filing penalty and late-payment penalty add up quickly. The basic failure-to-pay penalty rate is generally 0.5% of unpaid tax owed for each month or part of a month. For more see IRS.gov.

Taxpayers who have a history of filing and paying on time often qualify for penalty relief. A taxpayer will usually qualify if they have filed and paid timely for the past three years and meet other requirements. For more information, see the first-time penalty abatement page on IRS.gov.

Pay taxes electronically. Those who owe taxes can view their balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply online for a payment plan, including an installment agreement. Several other electronic payment options are available on IRS.gov. They are secure and easy to use. Taxpayers paying electronically receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment. With Direct Pay and the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), taxpayers can opt in to receive email notifications about their payments.

More information on tax payment dates and penalties can be reached at the IRS website IRS.gov.






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Have you heard of expats having trouble filing their taxes?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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