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What tax extension filers can do before the October deadline

There are immediate steps to take in order to meet the tax extension deadline. Getty Images

The deadline for the approximate 19 million Americans who requested an extension to file their 2021 tax return is quickly approaching. "Taxpayers who requested more time to file an accurate return have until October 17, 2022," according to the IRS

Those who requested the extension but already have what they need to file are being encouraged to file electronically before the deadline hits to circumvent any delays in processing.

With the deadline looming, there are important steps that taxpayers who requested an extension can take to put themselves in a better position.

If you're worried about the amount of taxes you owe and are unsure of the next steps, consider speaking with a tax debt relief expert. There are multiple ways to tackle outstanding tax debt.

3 things to do before the tax extension filing deadline

There are immediate steps to take in order to meet the October 17 deadline:

  1. Don't delay
  2. Get professional help
  3. File electronically

Don't delay

The deadline is quickly approaching and if you still haven't got your tax situation squared away make sure to do so as soon as possible. You'll want to get organized, gather all documents in one location and track down any missing ones right away. The initial reasoning for your extension request also comes into play here. If it was just a matter of gathering all the documents and forms together to complete your return then you should have everything for 2021 by now. If so, consider filing now. 

However, if there were financial considerations hindering your return, you may need additional help so you don't miss the deadline again. Consider speaking with an online financial adviser today. They can answer any questions you may have and help steer you in the right direction.

Get professional help

If you normally file your taxes by yourself but requested the extension for a financial reason, consider getting help. Accountants can always provide professional and reliable tax advice, although they will charge you for the assistance they provide. Still, it may be worth it. They can advise you on deductions, charitable donations, how and if you should be filing differently than you had previously and more. They can also guide you in the future with any changes to make to circumvent having to ask for another extension in 2023.

If you already have tax debt, don't worry. A tax debt relief expert can also help you. They can work to resolve back taxes, reduce IRS tax debt and negotiate payroll taxes. 

File electronically 

This is something even the IRS has been urging. Electronic filing is traditionally the more expedient way of processing claims, even when done during the normal tax season. But with the filing extension deadline looming, it makes even more sense to take this route.

"The IRS advises individuals who still need to file a 2021 tax return to file electronically and, if due a refund, to choose direct deposit," the IRS says on its website. "Filing electronically is fast, accurate and secure, and when an individual chooses direct deposit, their refund goes directly from the IRS into their bank or financial account getting them their refund in the fastest time possible."

One important caveat to note: Victims of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico who had a valid extension to file set for October 17, 2022, were recently given an additional extension to February 15, 2023, to file their returns. "Individuals and households affected by Hurricane Fiona that reside or have a business in all 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico qualify for tax relief," the IRS says.

Next steps

With the deadline quickly approaching, there is little time to delay. You don't want to put yourself into a further hole by missing the extension. Gather your documents, speak to a professional if needed and file electronically. 

Not sure of the next steps to take? Speak to a tax debt professional now to determine the best path forward.

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