Time ticking down to April 15 tax filing deadline

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate Mondays: This Monday, April 15, is the deadline to file state and federal income-tax returns.

Here’s why that’s especially unpleasant: By now, most of the taxpayers who were pretty sure they were getting a refund have already filed (because they want that cash). So the deadline mainly affects those who are going to have to send in a payment to the Internal Revenue Service and/or the Georgia Department of Revenue.

The good new is, there’s still help available for you when that last-minute panic sets in.

In late March, the IRS announced that visits to its website, www.IRS.gov, were 11 percent higher than at the same time last year. This could be at least partly attributable to people seeking information about recent changes in the tax law. (The site has a special section, the Interactive Tax Assistant, which answers questions about that topic.)

But by this time of year, the most popular feature on the website is “Where’s My Refund?” – a tool for tracking when you’ll be getting that all-important money.

Some taxpayers have complained that their refund in 2019 is smaller than it was in previous years. Though this is not true for everybody, in some cases the lower amount is a result of less money being withheld from their paycheck. Employees who were pleased to be receiving more take-home pay might not have considered that the extra money was being subtracted from their refund.

For an unlucky few, the refund was erased altogether and they actually owe money to the government this year.

If you still haven’t done the calculations to figure out what your own status is going to be this year, IRS.gov offers its Free File program, which about 70 percent of all taxpayers are eligible for. 

If you earned less than $66,000 in 2018, you’re qualified to choose among 12 brand-name tax preparation software services at no charge. The do-it-yourself software is designed for people who have relatively straightforward returns. If your tax situation is complicated, you’re going to need professional help, though filing deadline is just days away.

But don’t panic –– if you aren’t able to complete your return, you can file for an extension, which gives you more time to get the paperwork done. However, there’s one huge caveat: If you owe money, it’s still due on April 15. You are expected to contact the IRS by that date and set up a payment arrangement, even if you don’t have the full amount right now.

White County News

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