April 15 is usually a day for hectic math and mailing.
Traditionally, “Tax Day” — the deadline for filing the prior year’s in the United States — would be today, and the media would make light of it while tax preparers would be in overtime mode.
But, with COVID-19 shutting major parts of the country down and throwing the rest into a massive flux, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury have given taxpayers a reprieve to July 15 this year for filing those 2019 Form 1040s and other tax items. (The government has been collecting income taxes annually since 1913, but safe to say there hasn’t been a tax year like 2020 has been thus far, and we’re just over a quarter of the way through.)
But just because you have three extra months to file your taxes, it may not be the best idea to take all that time, especially if you did not file a 2018 return last year. About a third of Americans are receiving their government stimulus payments from the CARES Act — $1,200 per person who made $75,000 or less last year, plus $500 for every child under age 17. Those who have filed their 2018 or 2019 tax returns and have also authorized a direct deposit will receive their money first, and some in our area have received theirs already.
Those who haven’t filed returns, haven’t authorized direct deposit, or don’t receive Social Security, will have to wait longer for their payments, and the IRS must print and mail paper checks to Americans who did not file taxes electronically this year or last. They should start receiving their checks after April 24, when about $30 million in paper checks are scheduled to be mailed out — so filing those 2019 taxes (for free at irs.gov) could quicken the pace of a one-time windfall of cash.