Ready or not, deadline for filing income taxes quickly approaching

Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 11:17 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - If you haven’t filed you’re 2019 income taxes just yet, you now have nearly a week to do so.

The IRS extended the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For some people, their minds have been on the coronavirus threat and not necessarily on filing taxes, particularly since the IRS extended the deadline.

Still, accountants urge it’s time to get the proper paperwork ready in order to file.

“[Filing for an extension] is [only] an extension of time to file, not an extension of time to pay,” said James McIlrath, a partner and Certified Public Accountant at Duncan, Farmer, McIlrath, Marlowe and Cole CPAs firm in Myrtle Beach. “So if you do pay [what you owe] after July 15, you may owe penalties or interest along with the amount you do owe in taxes.”

McIlrath said people looking for help filing taxes can find some resources on the IRS website, including information on pre-filing services.

He added another option for people who haven’t filed their returns is to file an extension, which will give taxpayers until October 15 to file, but he recommends doing the math before filing an extension in case you owe money to the IRS.

A concern many residents also have is what impact the pandemic could have on how fast they receive their refunds.

McIlrath said that it all depends on how you choose to file.

“At one point, we saw the IRS had about $11 million tax returns they hadn’t opened yet,” he said. “The service centers were closed down. So if you file on paper, you are going to be in a back-logged inventory of tax returns. Electronically filing the returns, if you’re getting a refund, will help you get that quicker.”

Experts are also urging everyone to either file their taxes before the deadline or consider an extension.

“I know a lot of people procrastinating the July 15 deadline due to COVID,” said Neville Mahoney, who owns a Liberty Tax Service location in Conway. “Once this deadline hits, that’s it.”

Mahoney also encourages people to understand the purpose of filing an extension, so they don’t suffer penalties for not paying the IRS what they’re owed.

“A lot of people have a misconception about it,” he said. “[They think if they [have an extension], they can pay [what’s owed] by October 15 and that’s not true. The government only gives them the opportunity to file by October 15 if they don’t have all their tax documents. But if they owe money, they have to pay that by July 15. "

Tax preparation locations may have different policies on how they’re taking appointments and assisting customers. If you still need to file, it’s recommended you contact your preferred location immediately to ensure you can file your taxes on time.

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