(Art Credit: Andrea Hernandez)
The April deadline for filing a 2021 tax return is near, but IRS tax help is available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov. Whether filing a tax return, requesting an extension, or making a payment, the IRS website has answers to most tax questions and can help people avoid having to call the IRS.
Electronic filing is the best option
Taxpayers who electronically prepare and file online will likely have fewer mistakes on their tax return. Electronic filing options like IRS Free File or commercial tax software do the math, flag common errors, and ask for missing information. Taxpayers with income over $73,000 and those who are comfortable completing their tax returns may choose to use IRS Free File Fillable Forms.
Reconciling advance child tax credit or claiming recovery rebate credit
People who need to reconcile advance child tax credit payments or claim the recovery rebate credit will need additional information about 2021 payments to file an accurate tax return and avoid a processing delay.
These individuals must have the total amounts of advance child tax credit payments to receive the remainder of their child tax credit and the amount of their third round Economic Impact Payment to claim a recovery rebate credit. Taxpayers should check their online account or review Letter 6419, 2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, and Letter 6475, Your 2021 Economic Impact Payment, for their total payment amounts. This will help them file an accurate return. Married spouses who received joint payments will need to log into their own online account or review their own letter for their portion of the total payment. If filing a 2021 return as married filing jointly, they should add the payments together to provide the total amount.
Extension to file request
Taxpayers have until the April deadline to request an extension to file until October 17. This is not an extension of time to pay. Taxpayers must estimate their tax liability and pay as much as they can by April 18 to avoid possible penalties and interest. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 19 to pay to file their returns due to the Patriots' Day holiday in those states.
Individual tax filers, regardless of income, can use IRS Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should pay any amount due.
If taxpayers submit an electronic payment with their Online Account, Direct Pay, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by debit, credit card or digital wallet and select Form 4868 or extension as the payment type. They don't need to file Form 4868 when making an electronic payment and indicating it's for an extension. The IRS will automatically count it as an extension.
Some taxpayers may have extra time to file their tax returns and pay any taxes due. This includes some disaster victims, taxpayers living overseas, members of the military, and eligible support personnel serving in combat zones.
Refund status options
Taxpayers may have their refund electronically deposited into their bank or another financial account. People who don't have a bank account for a direct deposit can visit the FDIC website or the National Credit Union Administration using their Credit Union Locator Tool for information on where to find a bank or credit union and open an account online. They can check on their refund by using Where's My Refund? on IRS.gov or download the IRS2Go mobile app and get the most up-to-date information.
Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov to pay their balance using IRS Direct Pay or another payment option. The electronic payment options are secure, and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation. The IRS has options for taxpayers who owe taxes but cannot afford to pay.
Mail a paper return to the right address
Taxpayers should check Where to File for their state on IRS.gov so they mail it to the correct address. Taxpayers who mail a tax return will experience a longer wait.