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Wednesday February 28, 2024

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Summertime Help for Tax Extension Filers

On July 19, 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminded taxpayers who have filed for an extension that there are many tools and services available on IRS.gov. Millions of Americans did not file a tax return on April 18 and requested a filing extension to October 16, 2023. These individuals will benefit from a summertime start to prepare their tax return.

A great place to start is the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov. Taxpayers are encouraged to set up an IRS Online Account. This provides access to view tax records, make payments and gather information. After taxpayers have prepared a return, it is best to file and pay electronically.

If a taxpayer did not pay the full amount due on April 18, there may be additional penalties and interest on any overdue amounts. An extension to October 16 is a filing extension and not a tax payment extension. There is information on tax payment plans at IRS.gov/payments. If a taxpayer qualifies for a refund, the "Where's My Refund?" tool can be helpful.

An excellent way to prepare a tax return is the IRS Free File program. This is one of the more convenient ways to file an electronic return using commercial tax-preparation software.

Many taxpayers need the help of a qualified tax professional. Most of these tax professionals are qualified and provide excellent service. However, there are tips on choosing a tax professional on IRS.gov. Taxpayers should avoid a "ghost" tax return preparer who refuses to provide a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and sign the return.

The IRS offers in-person help at Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC). There is a tool on IRS.gov to help taxpayers find an area office and the hours of operation. After locating a convenient TAC, taxpayers can call 844-545-5640 to set up an appointment.

Additional assistance is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. These are generally available for individuals with $60,000 or less of income, persons with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers.

If a taxpayer needs special assistance, the IRS website includes assistive technology. There is screen reading software, Braille displays and screen magnifying software available. Taxpayers can file IRS Form 9000, Alternative Media Preference, to receive tax notices in Braille or large print.

Members of the military may use the Department of Defense's MilTax program. This tax filing program is generally free to active military members and some veterans.

Finally, if taxpayers are in a federal disaster area with a declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he or she may qualify for extensions of tax deadlines.

Published July 28, 2023
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