Tax Day 2019: Who Needs To File?

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The deadline for filing state and federal taxes is April 15th. Here’s what you need to know about Tax Day this year and whether or not you have anything to worry about.

What’s different this year?

2019 is a pivotal year for federal tax law. At the end of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect as part of President Donald J. Trump’s mission to vastly overhaul longstanding American tax codes. The legislation’s language establishes the 2018 tax year — for which Americans are filing their taxes today — as the first year for which the TCJA goes into effect.

Americans with the highest income stand to benefit most strongly from the changes the TCJA enacts, thanks to shifts in tax brackets. Homeowners and large families may struggle to afford the taxation shifts presented by the TCJA’s increasing of the child tax credit. Young and self-employed people may benefit, respectively, from the TCJA’s elimination of the Affordable Care Act tax and increasing of the standard deduction. However, since young and self-employed people often fall in lower tax brackets, the TCJA could instead overall negatively impact them.

Who needs to file quarterly taxes?

Tax Day is the deadline by which Americans need to file paperwork for their one federal and state refund per year. Self-employed people additionally may choose to file quarterly tax forms, because these workers do not have income taxes taken from their pay. These forms are filed in addition to, rather than in place of, standard tax forms for people who are employed full-time. Taxes for the first quarter, for those who file them, are also due April 15th, 2019. Second, third, and fourth quarter taxes are due June 17th, 2019 September 16th, 2019 and January 15th, 2020 respectively.

Who can get extra time for filing taxes?

The IRS recommends that people file their taxes by Tax Day, whether they can immediately afford any payments owed or not. Nevertheless, some people may qualify for filing extensions and may file for extra time in order to complete their tax returns properly.

An individual filing taxes can ask for an extension using the IRS’s Free File technology. Alternatively, individuals can file Form 4868. Businesses, on the other hand, must use Form 7004, and corporations must use Form 1138. People who are currently living outside the U.S. or serving in combat zones or a qualified hazardous duty area may be able to file later thanks to special rules. In some cases, an extension as long as six months may be granted, though all forms will need to be filed on paper rather than electronically — even though the IRS generally recommends electronic filing.

How are refunds issued?

The IRS usually issues any refunds it owes within 21 days, as do state tax agencies. Both the IRS and individual states have websites through which tax filers can track the status of their refunds. Tax agencies discourage taxpayers from contacting them via phone unless three to six weeks have passed since filing.

For additional questions about Tax Day, the IRS has a detailed FAQ section.

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