The tax filing deadline of May 17 has come and gone but if you missed it that doesn't mean you're in the clear. In fact, the longer you wait to file, the more fees and penalties you'll accrue. And if you're due a refund, the quickest way to get your money is — you guessed it — to file that return.
NBC senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle is urging taxpayers who've been procrastinating to get those returns in.
"Millions of Americans still have not filed their federal taxes," she said. "I'm not here to shame you, but I am here to help you get your return in even if you don't want to."
Here are three things you need to know to get the weight of tax filing off your shoulders:
1. If you're owed a refund, get your money
"First things first, if you are owed a refund, get that return in as soon as possible so you can get your refund as soon as possible," said Ruhle. The good news is, if you are owed a tax refund you will not be fined a penalty for filing late. "I know doing your taxes isn't much fun but the government owes you money and they won't give it to you unless you file that return," she said.
Here's a cheat sheet for the materials you'll need to file.
2. Severe storms could mean an extension on your tax deadline
Victims of the winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana may have an extension until June 15 to file their taxes.
"If you were impacted by those bad storms in the South you may have a couple extra months to file, but if varies depending on when you were affected," said Ruhle. "Go to IRS.gov to double check," she advised. Taxpayers living overseas and some members of the military could be eligible for an extension too. "You may also have more time on your state taxes, so confirm that deadline as well," she said.
3. What to do if you owe money but can't pay
Not able to pay your taxes? That's still no reason to avoid filing a tax return. Avoidance doesn't solve the problem and you can be sure that the IRS can, and will, still find you!
"If you do owe taxes this year the sooner you file the less you'll likely owe in interest and penalties," said Ruhle. If you're putting off filing because you can't afford to pay, in most cases the IRS will work with you to find a solutions. "You can enroll in both short and long term payment plays, and if you have paid on time the past few years, you may be eligible to have your penalties waived as well," she said. The bottom line is to call the IRS and talk to them, as they may be able to help you out.
And don't forget, you may be eligible for guided Free File so you don't have to pay anyone to help you with your taxes. Check IRS.gov for more details.
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