As most accountants are aware, Monday, April 18, was the tax deadline for most people in 2016. If your clients didn’t file a tax return or an extension, but should have, help them with these six tips from the IRS:
- File and pay soon. If you owe taxes, you should file and pay as soon as you can, which will stop the interest and penalties that you will owe. IRS Direct Pay is a free, secure and easy way to pay your balance that’s due directly from your checking or savings account. We don’t charge a penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund. The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your refund.
- Use IRS Free File. Nearly everyone can use IRS Free File to e-file their federal taxes for free. If your income was $62,000 or less, you can use free brand-name tax software. If you made more than $62,000, use Free File Fillable Forms to e-file. This program uses electronic versions of IRS paper forms and does some of the math for you. Fillable forms work best for those who are used to doing their own taxes. Either way, you have a free option on IRS.gov through the Oct. 17 extension period.
- IRS e-file is safe and quick. You can use IRS e-file through Oct. 17. E-file is the easiest, safest and most accurate way to file your taxes. The IRS will send you electronic confirmation when we receive your tax return, and we issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.
- Pay as much as you can. If you owe but can’t pay in full, you should pay as much as you can when you file your tax return. IRS electronic payment options are the quickest and easiest way to pay your taxes. You should pay what you owe as soon as possible, in order to minimize penalties and interest.
- Make monthly payments through an installment agreement. If you need more time to pay your taxes, you can apply for a direct debit installment agreement through the IRS Online Payment Agreement tool. You don’t need to write and mail a check each month with a direct debit plan. If you don’t use the online tool, you can still apply on Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. You can get the form at IRS.gov/forms at any time.
- A refund may be waiting. If you are owed a refund, you should file as soon as possible to get it. Even if you are not required to file, you may still get a refund if you had taxes withheld from your wages or you qualify for certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you don’t file your return within three years, you could lose your right to the refund.
You can encourage your clients to use the IRS2Go mobile app to check their refund status, pay their taxes, watch IRS YouTube videos and get IRS Tax Tips via email. This is a free download from the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store or Amazon. IRS2Go is available in English and Spanish