April 17… It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as April 15, but this year, the 17th is tax day. (Because the 15th was on a Sunday, and a holiday in Washington D.C. delayed things.)
Request an Extension
So, if you haven’t finished your taxes, it’s time to at least start. The good news is… you can get 6 more months to finish. Really: The IRS will give anyone who asks, a 6-month “extension to file.” That’s Form 4868.) Almost all tax preparation systems will help you fill out the extension request form.
Here’s the less-than-good news: Even with an extension, if you owe taxes, you have to pay what you expect to owe by the April 17 deadline. (The IRS will let you make a payment plan, though, with interest.)
If you file an extension and are due a refund, there is no penalty. But if you owe taxes, and didn’t pay (or underpaid), you will likely face small penalty for underpayment or late payment, along with interest. However, the IRS won’t kick you too hard, as long as you file your extension request an d make a payment.
Still, if you owe taxes (and who waits until the last day when they are expecting a refund), there are several ways to pay. Go figure… the one thing the IRS does well is make it easy for you to pay them.
- Use Direct Pay. IRS Direct Pay offers taxpayers a free, secure and easy way to pay. You can schedule a payment in advance to pay your tax directly from your checking or savings account. You don’t need to register, write a check or find a mailbox. Direct Pay gives you instant confirmation after you make a payment.
- Pay by Debit or Credit Card. Choose a payment processor to make a tax payment online, by phone or by mobile device. It’s safe and secure. The payment processor will charge a processing fee. The fees vary by service provider and may be tax deductible. No part of the fee goes to the IRS.
- Use IRS2Go. IRS2Go is a free app that you can use to make a payment with Direct Pay and by debit or credit card. Simply download IRS2Go from Google Play, the Apple App Store or Amazon.
- Pay When You E-file. If you file your federal tax return electronically using a commercial tax preparation program, you can schedule a payment at the time that you file. You can pay directly from your bank account using Electronic Funds Withdrawal. You choose the date and amount of the payment, and as long as it is on or before April 18, it will be on time. Some software that you use to e-file also allows you to pay by debit or credit card with a processing fee.
- Choose Other Options to Pay. The IRS offers other ways to pay:
- Use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System to pay your taxes online or by phone. This free system provides security, ease and accuracy. To enroll or for more information, call 888-555-4477 or visit EFTPS.gov.
- Pay by Check or Money Order. Make the check, money order or cashier’s check payable to the U.S. Treasury. Do not staple, clip or attach your payment to the tax form. Include your name, address, daytime phone number and Social Security number or Employer Identification Number on the front of the payment. Use the SSN shown first if it’s a joint return. Also include the tax year and related tax form or notice number. Do not send cash through the mail.
- Can’t Pay Now? If you are unable to pay in full, you have options:
- Apply for an online payment agreement to pay your tax liability over time. Use the IRS.gov tool to set up a direct debit installment agreement. With a direct debit plan there is no need to write a check and mail it each month.
- Owe more than you can afford? An offer in compromise may allow you to settle for less than the full amount you owe. It may be an option for you if you can’t pay your full tax liability. It may also be an option if paying in full creates a financial hardship. Not everyone qualifies. Use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool to see if you are eligible for an OIC.
In short, remember to pay your tax bill on time. If you are suffering a financial hardship, the IRS is willing to work with you.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.