Tax questions answered: How to file for an extension, what time taxes are due and more

What happens if you file taxes a day late? Is there a penalty? We've got answers to these and more top asked tax questions.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After a three-month extension because of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal taxes are due by the end of the day Wednesday, July 15.

Still need help?

Eyewitness News is helping taxpayers answer some of the most commonly asked questions on Google, with assistance from tax expert Andy Phillips with the H&R Block Tax Institute:

  • How do I get an extension?


  • Even with the three extra months, extensions are available and they are generally granted automatically, Phillips says.

    To request an extension, go to the IRS website and download Form 4868.

    But even if you're getting an extension, you should have an estimate of how much you owe and be prepared to pay it immediately.

  • What is the penalty for late taxes?


  • There are two kinds of penalties. One is for failure to file a tax return and another is for failure to pay.

    Interest grows the longer you delay. Phillips says the penalty can reach up to 47.5% of the balance due to the IRS.

    If you can't afford to pay all of what you owe, then pay what you can and look into various payment options, Phillips recommends.

  • What time are taxes due?


  • Taxes should be postmarked no later than July 15, which means getting them out and stamped before midnight.

    Last-minute filers are learning that, unlike the normal April deadline, post offices are not staying open late. The U.S. Postal Service says that's because the deadline was already extended and less of a last-minute surge is expected.

    More information about mailing taxes and finding post offices is available from the U.S. Postal Service here.

    If you need more help and don't have a computer or can't get your questions answered, a tax professional can help simplify the process.

    As Phillips notes: "Problems with the IRS do not go away, and in fact when ignored, they only get worse."
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