Even with an extra few days to file federal taxes this year, many Americans may have missed the filing deadline on April 18. If this applies to you — what should you do?
Do I even need to file?
You should first consider how much money you earned in 2021.
According to H&R Block, people under 65 who made less than $12,550 do not have to file individual taxes. The minimum income climbs to $14,250 for people 65 and older.
For joint returns for married people, H&R Block says the minimum income to file is:
- 25,100 if both spouses under age 65
- $26,450 if one spouse under age 65 and one age 65 or older
- $27,800 if both spouses age 65 or older
The caveat with not filing a return is missing out on receiving a refund if you are owed one.
Filing after April 18
If you missed the deadline, the IRS encourages you to file as soon as possible. You can use IRS Free File through October 17 to prepare and file 2021 tax returns electronically.
People who are due a refund receive no penalty for filing late. Although if you owe the government, you may face penalties as well as interest on the payment you owe.
The IRS says the failure to file penalty is 5% of the tax owed for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late, up to five months, reduced by the failure to pay penalty amount for any month where both penalties apply.
The good news for families who don’t owe 2021 taxes is that they can still the claim the Child Tax Credit for 2021. You can do so until April 15, 2025 without any penalty.
Who gets extra time
The IRS lists the following groups as automatically qualifying for extra time to file and pay taxes without penalty:
- Members of the military who served or are currently serving in a combat zone
- Support personnel in combat zones or a contingency operation in support of the Armed Forces
- Taxpayers outside the United States
- Some disaster victims
I did file on time; Where’s my refund?
If you did file your taxes by April 18 and still haven’t got your refund — be patient. The IRS says nine out of ten times, refunds are issued in less than 21 days for people who e-file and choose direct deposit. People who file by mail will have to wait a little longer.
Taxpayers need the primary Social Security number on the tax return, the filing status and the expected refund amount. The information is updated once a day.