can benefit you financially in many ways. First, if you are from the , you can get that quickly by sending in . Next, you could benefit for more if the IRS uses your 2020 taxes . But could you benefit if you delay paying your 2020 taxes? Would the IRS send you a bigger in some cases if you knew the IRS would look at your 2019 income to instead of your 2020 ?
Before exploring that payment path, be aware there could be some trade-offs you need to know about that could influence when you file. In addition, millions of Americans are expected to file a tax extension this year due to complexities stemming from , and for businesses, Payroll Protection Program loans, not .
To help you make sense of this, we explain what happens with your missing stimulus money if you request a tax extension this year. Once you do file, here's how to. We also have details on the , and how to . This story was recently updated.
The first two things to know about filing for a tax extension
If you file for an extension with the IRS, that would change your due date forto Oct. 15. The current deadline is , but Democrats are as a result of the . However, since the only way to get any is by claiming it on your , what happens if you file a tax extension if you're also expecting a catch-up payment? And what could happen if a before ?
If you decide to extend your tax filing to a later date, you'll need to file the extension no later than April 15, 2021. Note that you'll still have to pay the estimated taxes you owe by the tax due date -- currently also April 15 -- otherwise, you accrue interest on what you owe, which you'll eventually have to pay -- plus other possible penalties -- on top of your income taxes.
How will a third stimulus check work if it comes during tax season?
The latest proposal (PDF) stipulates that the IRS would use whichever taxes it has on file at the time it's ready to prepare your payment. If you think you'd get a larger check using your 2019 taxes, you could force the issue by filing for an extension, which would cause the IRS to use your 2019 taxes. Or would it?
If you owe the IRS any money, you'd still have to calculate an estimate of your payment using yourand send in your payment by April 15 -- even if you file an extension. If your 2020 AGI , or , could the IRS still use those figures to decide the third check total? We've reached out to the agency for clarification.
Also, keep in mind that income is only one factor. The number ofis also an advantage this time around, and would no longer be limited by age.
Remember, too, that if there's any difference between your 2019 and 2020 taxes, you would need to hold on to your details and, when filing for your 2021 taxes in 2022, rather than get that payment this year.
Can I claim my missing stimulus money if I file a tax extension?
Yes. But you should know the only way you'll get your missingis by claiming a on your tax form -- even if you're . So the longer you wait to file, the longer it'll take to get your tax refund, which will .
When will I get my tax refund either way?
The timeline for getting your tax refund -- or your refund plus outstanding stimulus check money -- depends on when you file. While you have until Oct. 15 to submit your return if you've filed an extension, it doesn't mean you have to wait that long to file.
For example, if you filed by Feb. 12 -- that's when the IRS started processing tax returns -- you could receive your money as soon as Feb. 19. However, if you wait until Oct. 15, the earliest you would get the money is Oct. 22.
See our chart below for more details on when you can expect your tax refund, which will include your missing stimulus payment.
When to expect your tax refund
|If you file on this date||This is the soonest||This is the latest|
|Feb. 12||Feb. 19||March 5|
|March 1||March 8||March 22|
|April 1||April 8||April 22|
|April 15 (last day to file)||April 22||May 6|
|Oct. 15 (last day with extension)||Oct. 22||Nov. 5|
Here are your 3 options for filing a tax extension in 2021
There are three ways the IRS says you can file a tax extension:
Option 1: Pay all or part of your estimated income tax due and note the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or using a credit or debit card.
Option 2: File Form 4868 electronically by accessing IRS e-file using your tax software or by working with a tax professional who uses e-file. Make sure you have a copy of your 2019 tax return.
If you need to find a tax software service to use, and you make $72,000 or less, you can use the IRS Free File Online tool to find the best free filing system. You'll need to gather the following information: income statements (W2s or 1099s), any adjustments to your income, your current filing status (single, married, filing jointly) and dependent information. If you make more than $72,000, you'll be able to use the Free File Fillable form when it opens Feb. 12.
Once you enter all your information, the IRS will help determine which option is best for you -- for example, it could be IRS Free File Program by TurboTax or TaxSlayer.
Option 3: File a paper Form 4868 and enclose payment of your estimate of tax due. Make sure it's postmarked on or before April 15.
For more tax information, we spell out the, and when you file your taxes.