TAX DAY: What you need to know about the new deadline and filing during the pandemic

ATLANTA — With the federal and state tax deadlines pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, if you haven’t filed yet, you still have time.

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Federal tax deadline

According to the Associated Press, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on March 20 that at President Donald Trump’s request, the federal tax deadline was pushed back to July 15. Mnuchin said this gives people and businesses extra time to file and make payments without interest or fines.

The Trump administration also said that it would delay tax return payments in the hopes it would leave more money in the economy during this time.

Georgia Tax Deadline

Governor Brian Kemp says he has authorized state to extending state tax filing to July 15 to coincide with national extension.

Like the IRS, the relief provided by this extension is for state income tax payments and state income tax returns due on April 15. This also includes state estimated income tax payments due on April 15, for the taxpayer’s 2020 taxable year. At the state level, Georgia’s income tax forms and integrated tax system rely on federal tax information to establish a taxpayer’s state liability. This in practice means that a taxpayer would need to complete their federal income tax filing before he or she would have the necessary information to begin their state income tax filing. Because of this, the state encounters significant challenges if the state deadline falls before the federal filing deadline.

In addition to the tax deadline extension, all vehicle registrations that expire between March 16, and May 14, have been extended through May 15, 2020. This extension applies to all annual registrations, including personal passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, vehicles registered in the International Registration Plan (IRP), and Temporary Operating Permits (TOPs) issued at the time of a vehicle purchase. Registrations that expired before March 16, 2020, do not qualify for this extension.

Read more here about the details of the Georgia tax rules

Filing during the pandemic

With accountants, tax preparers and similar businesses in a tough spot due to the governor’s stay at home order, there are some things to consider if you have not filed your taxes yet.

If your adjusted gross income is $69,000 or less per year, you might want to consider “Free File,” an IRS program you would be eligible for. Few people actually use the program, according to the IRS.

CLICK HERE for more information about the IRS Free File program.

Many agencies are still working to process clients’ tax returns and paperwork, just not in the office or in person. This might be the year you finally get adjusted to using video programs like Skype, FaceTime or Zoom to talk with your tax preparer. CNBC reports some agencies are now using secure websites to transfer documents between customers and employees. If you still need to download documents like a mortgage statement, W2 or Form 1099, those are usually still available and your work or brokerage firm may be able to help.

If all else fails, remember, there is still paper. The USPS is still working, delivering mail daily around the country.

Lastly, you may not want to wait. Your economic stimulus checks from the government are based on your 2018 or 2019 tax returns. If you file sooner, you’re not only giving yourself a better chance for more money, you’re also protecting yourself from scammers.

According to the VA, veterans and their families have access to free tax preparation and electronic filing services to keep more of their hard earned money.

  • IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs are available to taxpayers that earned less than $54,000 in 2015. More than 3.7 million tax returns were prepared using these services in 2014. All tax returns completed through VITA are prepared by IRS certified volunteers, so you can feel confident your tax return is accurate. Even better, there are over 12,000 convenient locations across the country. To find the VITA location nearest you, enter your zip code into the easy-to-use VITA/TCE Locater.
  • MyFreeTaxes, operating the only free online tax preparation and filing assistance platform available in all 50 states and Washington D.C., who earned $62,000 or less in 2015, allows qualified Veterans, active-duty military, their families and all other qualifying taxpayers to file both a federal and state tax return absolutely free. In addition to e-filing, MyFreeTaxes also provides in-person help to individuals and families earning $20,000 or less in 2015. For more information, please visit: www.myfreetaxes.com. The MyFreeTaxes initiative is managed by United Way, with the assistance from legacy partners, National Disability Institute and Goodwill Industries International, and is sponsored by the Wal-Mart Foundation.

CLICK HERE for more information about filing for the elderly

For people with disabilities, people speaking limited English and the elderly, there area IRS programs too through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.