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Tax Day 2020: When's the Last Day to File Taxes?

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 tax deadline was pushed back to give taxpayers (and tax preparers) more time to file returns.

Tax Day is not on April 15 this year. Instead, 2019 federal tax returns and payments are due on July 15, 2020. The IRS pushed back the deadline in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult for taxpayers and tax preparers to file and pay taxes by the original April 15 due date.

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If you're mailing in a paper return, the envelope must be postmarked by July 15. If you're filing an electronic return, you must e-file the return by midnight on July 15. However, don't wait until 11:59 p.m. to click the submit button, because it can take a few minutes for your return to be successfully transmitted to the IRS.

E-filed returns are processed faster than paper returns (especially this year, since the IRS is experiencing coronavirus-related staff issues that are slowing down paper return processing). If you're getting a refund, you'll also get your money much sooner if you file an electronic return. Opting for direct deposit over a paper check will also speed up your refund.

Filing Extensions Are Available

If you can't file your federal tax return by July 15, you can get an extension to October 15, 2020. But you have to act by July 15 to get the extension.

Also keep in mind that an extension to file doesn't extend the time to pay your tax. If you don't pay the taxes you owe by July 15, you'll owe interest on the unpaid tax. You could also be hit with additional penalties for filing and paying late. For more information, see How to Get an Extension for Filing Your Tax Return.

Payment Plans

If you can't pay the tax you owe, pay what they can by July 15 and check out the various IRS payment options for what's left. You can set up a payment plan, make an "offer in compromise," or request a temporary collection delay. Some people even take out loans to pay the taxes they owe, since loan costs are sometimes lower than the IRS interest and penalties you'll owe for not paying on time.

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