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  • Writer's pictureSamiksha Jain

Tax Season 2023: What You Need to Know About Deadlines, Extensions, and Filing Options



As the April 15 federal tax deadline approaches, taxpayers across the nation are gearing up to file their returns. This year, while the traditional deadline holds for most, residents in Massachusetts and Maine will enjoy an extension until April 17 due to local holidays.


Key Deadlines and Extensions

The primary deadline for filing 2023 tax returns is April 15. However, if this date falls on a weekend or a public holiday, it is pushed to the following business day. Special extensions are also in place for those affected by natural disasters and other significant events, such as the October 7 attack on Israel, providing some taxpayers with more time to file and settle their dues.


For those in states celebrating Patriots' Day and Emancipation Day, the extended deadline of April 17 applies, allowing extra time to manage their tax responsibilities without penalty.


Filing Options and Strategies

To avoid common mistakes and delays in refunds, the IRS encourages electronic filing. This method is quicker and more secure, ensuring faster processing of returns and refunds. Taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $79,000 or less can utilize the IRS Free File program, while others may be eligible for the new Direct File pilot program available in 12 states.

For taxpayers who might not meet the April 15 deadline, the IRS allows for an automatic six-month extension if Form 4868 is filed. It's important to note that this extension pertains only to filing, not to any tax payments due, which are still expected by the original deadline to avoid penalties and interest.


Payment Methods and Understanding Penalties

Taxpayers have several options for paying their dues, including IRS Direct Pay, electronic funds transfer, or by credit or debit card. Opting for these payment methods and indicating that the payment is for an extension can also streamline the process of requesting an extension.

Failure to file by the deadline without an extension can result in significant penalties. The IRS imposes a failure-to-file penalty of 5% of unpaid taxes per month, which can accumulate up to 25% of the unpaid taxes. Additionally, a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% per month may apply, also up to 25%.


Why Filing Early is Beneficial?

Filing early, especially for those expecting a refund, is advantageous. Early filers typically receive their refunds sooner and reduce the risk of identity theft. As of early April, the IRS reported the average refund to be $3,011, marking a 4.6% increase from the previous year. Choosing direct deposit can expedite receiving these refunds, often within 21 days of the return being accepted.


Conclusion

Navigating the tax season effectively requires staying informed of deadlines, understanding available filing options, and organizing tax documents well in advance. By taking advantage of the resources and tools provided by the IRS, taxpayers can ensure a smoother and less stressful filing process, potentially securing timely refunds and avoiding penalties.

This straightforward coverage aims to equip readers with essential information to manage their tax filing for 2023 efficiently and confidently.

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