Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IRS has announced that the new tax deadline is July 15, 2020. That means that your federal taxes—and in most cases, your state taxes too—should be both filed and paid by July 15 of this year. If you haven’t yet paid your taxes and you’re wondering if or how any of this affects you, you can start by learning more about coronavirus (COVID-19) tax relief and the federal stimulus checks.
Tax Relief for Coronavirus
Most Americans are feeling the effects of the pandemic, even if they are not personally sick with coronavirus (COVID-19). To help those who are struggling financially at this time, the government has elected to push back the federal tax deadline, which would normally be April 15, by three months. This applies to everyone, from taxpayers to businesses and other organizations.
Here are some important things to know about this relief:
- It is applied automatically, so no special action is required if you want to take advantage of it.
- If you cannot make the new deadline, you can request an extension. This works the same as if you wanted to request a deadline extension for taxes any other year.
- This relief is specifically regarding federal taxes, so you will need to check what your state’s income tax deadline is. (More on that below.)
In addition to their other measures, the IRS is instituting the People First Initiative, which does things like postpone certain payments and stop new delinquent accounts from being sent to private collection agencies.
Chuck Rettig, the current IRS Commissioner, says that “We are temporarily adjusting our processes to help people and businesses during these uncertain times. We are facing this together, and we want to be part of the solution to improve the lives of all people in our country.”
When Are State Income Taxes Due?
For most states, state income taxes are due the same day as the federal deadline—July 15. However, the following six states have chosen to implement their own deadline(s):
- Mississippi: May 15
- Idaho: June 15
- New Hampshire: June 15
- Hawaii: July 20
- Iowa: July 31
- Virginia: May 1 to file; June 1 to pay
If you live where there is no state income tax, such as in Alaska or Washington, then you only need to remember the cutoff date of July 15. The same is true for those who live in a state where the state and federal tax deadlines match up.
It’s a little trickier for those whose state deadline precedes the federal deadline. Because it can be hard to do your state taxes without doing your federal taxes first, you may want to complete all of your taxes at the same time for convenience’s sake.
People in Hawaii and Iowa can proceed essentially as they would have otherwise, using the extra time for their state taxes if they need it.
When Will I Receive My Tax Return?
The tax return process should not be affected by the pandemic, so you should receive your return within the same time frame you would have expected previously. According to the IRS, 90% of federal tax refunds are issued within three weeks of filing.
If you want to check the status of your tax return, you can do so using the Where’s My Refund tool on the IRS website. All you need are these three pieces of information:
- Your Social Security number (SSN)
- Your filing status
- Your refund amount
If it has been longer than three weeks (for e-filing) or six weeks (for filing by mail) and you still haven’t received your refund, you can reach out to the IRS to learn more. In the meantime, you can decide what you want to do with your return when you get it.
Will My Taxes Affect My Stimulus Check?
The IRS will use your most recently completed income taxes (either 2018 or 2019) to determine how much stimulus money you are eligible to receive. You can use this online calculator to estimate how much you might be getting based on your filing status, your adjusted gross income and your dependents, if you have any.
In addition, if you provided your direct deposit information either year, this is how you will receive your check—so it is probably in your best interest to complete your taxes as soon as possible. Otherwise, the IRS will mail a check to your last known address, and this could take months depending on your income. Taxpayers who earn less are prioritized first, so take this into account if you are waiting for a paper check.
Should I Wait to Pay My Taxes?
In general, you should file and pay your taxes immediately if you haven’t already. When you do so, you can make sure they have updated direct deposit information for you to give you the best chance of getting your stimulus money faster.
You can check the status of your stimulus check and update your direct deposit information, if necessary, through the Economic Impact Payments portal provided by the IRS.
If you don’t expect a tax refund, you might want to file but wait to pay until you can better afford it—just be careful not to miss your tax deadlines, whether they’re both July 15 or not. Unpaid taxes can negatively affect you legally, as well as your credit, and you’ll want to avoid these consequences. As you’re researching how COVID-19 has changed the tax process this year and what’s happening with your stimulus money, you don’t have to go it alone. There are people in the industry who can help you. If you’re concerned about how all this could affect your credit, consider getting a free credit report consultation today with Lexington Law.