The federal tax filing deadline was extended until July 15, 2020, which gives taxpayers an additional 90 days to file and pay their income taxes. The move is intended to provide relief at a time when so many people are facing hardships due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
There may be circumstances that require you to wait and file your 2019 tax return closer to the July deadline. But here are five reasons why you should file earlier if you can.
At a glance:
- The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your tax refund.
- If you’ve never filed taxes but you are eligible for a stimulus payment, a 2019 return tells the IRS what they need to know.
- It’s one less thing you’ll have to do later. If you owe, you can always schedule your payment closer to the due date.
- Giving the IRS accurate tax info for 2019 ensures you are getting the stimulus amount you deserve.
- Filing now gives you the chance to update or provide direct deposit info – for your refund and your stimulus check, if you are expecting one.
1) The sooner you file, the sooner you get your refund
The IRS is urging people who are owed a federal tax refund to file as soon as possible. They also encourage everyone to file electronically if they can, because filing your tax return online and choosing direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund.
A tax refund really is your money. There’s no reason to wait to collect what you deserve.
2) New filers could qualify for a stimulus payment
If you earned income in 2019 and no one claimed you as a dependent, you should file your 2019 tax return sooner rather than later.
Adults who file as single with an AGI of $75,000 or less can receive a $1,200 stimulus payment. This amount is tax-free and you do not have to pay it back. The only way the government knows who deserves a payment is by looking at tax records*. So, if you want to be considered, make sure to file your 2019 tax return. See if you qualify.
*People who receive Social Security can qualify for the stimulus without filing a tax return. Learn more about this exception here.
“What if I have to pay taxes?”
Some people avoid filing a tax return because they think that they will owe taxes. Whether you have a tax bill or a tax refund, the government just wants to see how much your AGI is so they know who to send a stimulus payment.
Use TaxSlayer’s refund calculator to find out if you can expect a refund or a tax bill.
3) You can file now and pay later
Some people wait to do their taxes because they have a tax bill. But filing your tax return does not mean you have to send your payment at the same time. You can file your tax return and schedule your payment closer to the July 15 deadline.
You may have a lot more on your plate than usual right now. But, if you have the time, go ahead and cross taxes off your to-do list now.
4) Get the stimulus payment you deserve
Has anything changed for you or your family since 2018? Your stimulus check could be impacted by simple things – like changing bank accounts – or bigger things – like having a baby.
If you had a baby or adopted a child in 2019, make sure the IRS knows about your growing family. It will mean an additional $500 per qualifying dependent gets added to your stimulus check.
The government is issuing stimulus payments now. It’s important to give them all the information they need, so you can get every dollar you’re eligible for.
“Will I have to pay back any of my stimulus payment?”
No, you will not be required to repay any of your stimulus payment. It will be treated like an advance tax credit, so you won’t need to pay tax on the amount, either.
How much can you expect? Check our stimulus calculator to find out.
5) Update your payment info to direct deposit
According to the IRS, “Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds.”
It’s true – getting a check mailed to you takes several days. But with direct deposit, your money is transferred from the Department of Treasury right into your checking or savings account. You can even split your refund and have it deposited into different accounts for added convenience.
If you’re getting a stimulus check, it will be delivered the same way you get your tax refund – either by direct deposit or by mail. The government will send the stimulus payment to the account on your most recently filed return, 2018 or 2019.*
*To provide updated bank account information for direct deposit without filing a return, use the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website.
“What if I don’t have a bank account?”
No problem. You can choose how you would like to receive your tax refund from the options here.
As for your stimulus payment, the US Treasury will mail a paper check to the address provided on your tax return.