Oct. 15 tax-filing extension deadline approaches for millions of taxpayers

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers who requested the six-month filing extension to double check their tax returns and file on or before the mid-October deadline. More than 14 million taxpayers filed for an extension in 2018 and, although Oct. 15 is the last day for most people to file, some may have more time. They include:

  • Members of the military and others serving in combat zone localities still have more time. They typically have until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due.
  • Taxpayers in several disaster area localities who already had valid extensions now have more time to file. Currently, taxpayers in parts of California, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas qualify for this relief. For details, see the disaster relief page on IRS.gov. However, like other extension filers, these taxpayers were required to pay what they owed by April 18, which was this year’s filing deadline for 2017 tax returns.

Recordkeeping and Adjusted Gross Income

As a reminder, taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax returns and supporting documents for a minimum of three years. It’s more important than ever for taxpayers to have prior-year tax returns available as the IRS made changes last year to protect taxpayers and authenticate their identity. To authenticate their identities, taxpayers will need to enter either of two items: their prior-year AGI or their prior-year self-select PIN and their date of birth. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must authenticate their identities with this information.vExtension filers should also plan ahead if they are using a software product for the first time as using an electronic PIN is no longer an option. Those who lack access to their prior-year tax returns can go to irs.gov/transcript and use Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail to get last year’s AGI.

A ‘Paycheck Checkup’ is important

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted in December, made major changes to the tax law. Any of these far-reaching changes could have an impact on the refund many taxpayers will receive when they file their 2018 tax return. The agency urges taxpayers on extension to complete a “Paycheck Checkup” now so that if a withholding amount adjustment is necessary, there’s more time for withholding to take place during the last quarter of the year. Waiting means there are fewer pay periods to withhold the necessary federal tax – so more tax will have to be withheld from each remaining paycheck.

Withholding Calculator

This handy tool, available on IRS.gov, will help taxpayers determine if they should complete a new Form W-4 and, if so, what information to enter on a new Form W-4 for necessary withholding adjustments. It’s helpful if taxpayers have their completed 2017 tax return available when using the Withholding Calculator to estimate the amount of income, deductions, adjustments and credits to enter. Filers also need their most recent pay stubs to compute the employee’s withholding taken from their pay so far this year.

Quick and easy payment options

IRS Direct Pay offers taxpayers a fast and easy way to pay what they owe. Direct Pay is free and allows individuals to securely pay their tax bills or make quarterly estimated tax payments online directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration. Taxpayers can also pay by debit or credit card. While the IRS does not charge a fee for this service, the payment processer will. Other payment options include the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (enrollment is required) and Electronic Funds Withdrawal which is available when e-filing. Taxpayers can also pay what they owe using the IRS2Go mobile app. Those choosing to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the “United States Treasury.” Individual taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/account and login to view their balance, payment history, pay their taxes and access tax records through Get Transcript. Before setting up an account, taxpayers should review Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools to make sure they have the information needed to verify their identities.