CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If you haven't filed your income taxes today is the day.
The first thing you need to do is file for an extension because if you don’t, there are a lot of different penalties and fees you could get stuck with.
The bigger penalties include failure to file, that's when you completely miss today's deadline. That penalty is 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month, or part of a month that a tax return is late.
Another is failure to pay your taxes, this means you still owe the government money or haven’t set up a payment plan. The penalty for that is 0.5% of your balance for each month past the deadline. One tax expert said it's best to take action as soon as possible to avoid paying more than you have to.
"Be very disciplined as you get your information ready. Find your documents, find last year's. You don't need that to file but it's a good road map when you're here at the last hour,” said Mark Steber, Senior Vice President and Chief Tax Information Officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.
Steber said the biggest mistake 1 out of 5 Americans will make is leaving off benefits, like the earned income credit, the new child tax credit, or the 2021 stimulus benefit. Those are things the IRS won't catch for you.
"Wrong, wrong, wrong! If you leave it off, you will get found, they will send you a notice. Probably a tax assessment, probably some penalties, and probably some interest. Then it’s up to you and your pro to explain why it was done and, in most cases, you don't really have a good excuse,” said Steber.
If you are due a refund, the IRS recommends you file electronically and use direct deposit to get your money back quickly.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Services is located at 3118 Baldwin. You can call (361)883-2569 or visit their website.
If you earned $66,000 or less in 2021, you are eligible to get your tax return prepared for free thanks to one local group of volunteers.
In this previous article about local organizations offering free tax return preparation hosted at five sites for those who earned less than $66,000
Those who need more time can still file an extension, which will push the due date to October 17th.
"Anybody can file it. It’s important to remember, that it’s an extension of time to file your paperwork. You must pay 90% of your taxes with the extension or you face another penalty,” said Mark Steber.
To learn how to fill out a form 4868 to get an extension, click here.