Tax deadline Monday: 4 reasons why you should file your income tax return now
Meeting the extended 2021 IRS filing date matters for your tax refund, stimulus payment and the expanded child tax credit.
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If you're still procrastinating on your 2020 income tax return, you might want to know that filing before the Monday, May 17 deadline could put money into your pocket. This year, filing on time can help you get the correct amount of your advance child tax credit . It can also help you get a "plus-up" payment if the IRS underestimated the amount of your third stimulus check.
For the IRS to determine how much money you'll receive in 2021, the tax agency needs your 2020 tax information. We'll give you four reasons why filing your tax return ASAP could benefit you, as well as how filing a tax extension could affect you. And if you already filed your 2020 tax return but haven't received your refund, here's how to track it.
The IRS said qualifying families will have another opportunity to update changes to income, filing status and the number of qualifying children, with more information, but didn't provide specifics on how or when. We've reached out to IRS for details on how families will be able to inform the agency of changes.
Reason 2: Calculate your plus-up stimulus payment
If you've received your third stimulus check you may be due a plus-up payment, too, but only if the IRS has your 2020 tax return. If the IRS based your payment on your 2019 tax return but your 2020 federal tax return shows you qualify for more money for that third payment, the IRS will send you the difference as a separate plus-up.
Reason 3: Recover your missing money from the first two stimulus payments
But the tax agency will use your 2019 return if your 2020 taxes haven't been accepted by the time your payment is sent. That could work in your favor if your income from 2019 was lower than your income from 2020. (You won't have to return the money in most cases.)
However, if your 2020 tax return would bring you a larger third stimulus check, like if you have more dependents, you'll want to file as soon as possible, so the IRS processes your 2020 taxes before releasing your third stimulus check. Here's what people who don't normally file taxes should know.
Watch this: Your tax questions answered in 3 minutes
What about the deadline for my state's tax return?
Can I file an extension if I can't make the Monday deadline?
If you need time beyond May 17 you can file a tax extension, which will give you until Oct. 15 to complete and send your paperwork to the IRS. The IRS said individual taxpayers don't need to file forms or call the IRS to qualify for the extension, but you will need to request an extension before Monday to avoid penalties.
The new extension doesn't get you off the hook for estimated tax payments or postpone the deadline for money that you owe to the IRS. Those who make estimated payments still had a due date of April 15, and those who owe money on their taxes still need to pay them by Monday.