Tax Day 2023: Day Of Filing Guide To Still Make Today’s April 18 Deadline

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Taxpayers got an extra three days to file their returns in 2023 thanks to a later-than-normal tax deadline, but that deadline has now arrived. To avoid penalties, you need to either file your return by the end of Tues., April 18, or get an extension.

If you don’t meet the deadline, the failure-to-file penalty is 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late, according to the IRS. The late-payment penalty is normally 0.5% per month. Both penalties max out at 25%. States that require you to file a tax return might also impose late-filing fees.

The one thing you don’t want to do is panic and toss your return together at the last minute, opening it up to mistakes that could cost you money. If you are not ready to file, then request an extension. The IRS grants extensions to people who require more time. You’ll need to obtain and fill out IRS extension Form 4868, which you can find using your tax software or the Free File program offered by the IRS. Just keep in mind that even with an extension, you’ll have to pay any money owed to the IRS by the April 18 original deadline or face penalties.

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If you do file for an extension, you have until Oct. 16, 2023, to submit your full return, according to the IRS.

Taxpayers who live in certain areas hit by severe storms or disaster declarations have been granted extended deadlines by the IRS. These include the following:

  • May 15, 2023, for New York winter storm and snowstorm victims from late December 2022
  • July 31 for storm victims in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi
  • Oct. 16 for disaster-area taxpayers in certain parts of California, Alabama and Georgia

If you are determined to have your return ready by the deadline, there are some important things to consider. One of them is how you file — and your best and quickest option is to e-file. If your 2022 adjusted gross income (AGI) was $73,000 or less, then you qualify for IRS Free File, which provides guided instructions. Use the IRS Free File online look-up tool to find free federal tax prep software and learn which providers offer free state filing. 

If your AGI was more than $73,000 in 2022 you can still use IRS fillable forms at no charge, though you won’t have instructions. You also won’t have the state tax filing option with fillable forms.

You can check your tax return status 24 hours after e-filing it by using the IRS’s Where’s My Refund site. For paper returns, you’ll likely have to wait at least four weeks for an update.

It might be too late to line up a tax professional to help with your return, though it doesn’t hurt to try. If you can’t find one, then reach out to individuals in your work and professional network to see if any of them are qualified to prepare returns — and be ready to pay enough to make it worth their while. You might even have friends and family with extensive personal experience filing returns.

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Take Our Poll: What Do You Plan To Use Your Tax Refund For?

If you need to call the IRS for help on deadline day, there is some good news: The average wait time this tax season is only four minutes vs. 27 minutes a year ago, the AP reported, citing comments from IRS officials.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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