Earlier this year, the coronavirus pandemic prompted the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to announce a historic three-month delay to the April Tax Deadline.
That new deadline is next week, July 15.
Raphael Tulino is a representative of the IRS. He said just like other businesses and government agencies, the IRS had to shut down many offices during the height of the pandemic and the agency is just now reopening.
He said call centers are understaffed and it may be difficult to get through to someone to answer questions. Tulino asked for patience as the agency works to get back up and running.
"We're trying to figure out how to reopen slowly, but it's not going to be quick and it is certainly not a normal year," he said, "We're asking for patience and understanding and the flexibility we need, just like we all need in life to get through this."
He also strongly suggested that people who have not yet filed their tax return file electronically so their returns do not get tied up in a backlog.
"By all means, choose a paperless return," he said, "That is the quickest way to get your refund. The majority of taxpayers are still getting refunds."
With so many people out of work and struggling financially, people might not have money to pay any taxes they owe. Tulino said even if you can't pay the entire amount, file a return and pay what you can. He said the agency wants to work with taxpayers not against them.
"It benefits you at least to file that return," he said, "The IRS understands there are millions of people out there, especially this year, who are in a position where they can't do what they normally do but if you have a requirement do file, do let the agency know, and let's work it out going forward."
He also recommended that people who are owed money in the form of a refund file. Tulino pointed out that after three years that refund is gone.
After three years, that money is forfeited back to the federal government. Tulino said Nevadans lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each year because they don't file a return to get their refund.
Besides the impact the pandemic is having on staffing levels, Tulino said taxpayers do not have to worry about any major differences in the tax code for this year.
IRS Economic Impact Payment line at 800-919-9835
Gather your records: Round up any documents you will need when filing your taxes, including receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you will be claiming on your tax return. Store them in a safe place.
Report all your income: You will need all your Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and 1099 income statements to report your income when you file your tax return. To ensure you don’t misplace them, add them to your other records.
Get answers to questions: Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool available on the IRS website to find answers to your questions about tax credits and deductions.
Use Free File: There is at least one option available for everyone to prepare and e-file a tax return at no cost. Let IRS Free File do the work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It's available exclusively at IRS.gov. If your income was $57,000 or less, you qualify to use free tax software. If your income was higher, or you are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there's Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Visit IRS.gov/freefile to review your options.
Try IRS e-file: IRS e-file is the best way to file an accurate tax return. It’s safe, easy and the way most taxpayers file their return. Last year, more than 80 percent of taxpayers used IRS e-file. Many tax preparers are now required to use e-file. If you owe taxes, you have the option to file early and pay by July 15.
Weigh your filing options: You have several options for filing your tax return. You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer. You may be eligible for free, face-to-face help at a volunteer site. Weigh your options and choose the one that works best for you.
Use direct deposit: Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest and safest way for you to get your refund.
Visit the IRS website: The IRS website at IRS.gov is a great place to find everything you need to file your tax return. This includes many online tools, filing tips, answers to frequently asked questions, the latest tax law changes, forms and publications.
Remember number 17: Check out Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, on the IRS website. It’s a complete tax resource that includes information such as whether you need to file or how to choose your filing status.
Review your return: Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double-check all Social Security numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors. If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Start with IRS.gov.
Raphael Tulino, spokesman, IRS
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