Like many taxpayers, you may think hey, the deadline is a ways away.
This is a common mistake when it comes to claiming a prior-year refund. We tend to forget that time moves quickly and when the deadline comes around, it becomes an unnecessarily stressful time.
Here’s how to change that.
Dates to remember:
October 15, 2018, was the e-file and extension deadline for your 2017 tax return. After this date, you’re required to paper-file your tax return. Therefore, you can no longer e-file your 2017 tax return.
Most importantly, you have three years from the original tax deadline to claim a tax refund. This means you have until April 15, 2021, to claim your 2017 refund. Even if you filed an extension for the 2017 tax year, you still need to claim your refund by the traditional April deadline.
Keep in mind, although the 2017 tax year deadline was April 17, 2018, due to April 15 falling on a Sunday and the 16th being Emancipation Day, you must file by the original tax deadline. We encountered taxpayers who tried to claim their refunds by similar dates such as April 17, due to either a holiday or weekend and were not able to claim their refund by the IRS.
How to file after the deadline
Now you know the dates, here’s what you need to know in order to file.
- Gather your income statements
- Enter your tax information
- Submit your account
- Download, print, sign, and mail your tax return to the IRS and/or state
If you lost your W-2 or 1099 income statements, the IRS can help you out. For more information on obtaining lost income statements and the requirements to file, click here.
Timeframe for your 2017 refund
With prior year refunds, you will receive your refund by a check; which will take additional time to get to you. After mailing your federal tax return, the IRS will take six to eight weeks to process your refund from the date they receive your return.
However, if you find yourself waiting over eight weeks, contact the IRS to determine the status of your refund.
What if you owe taxes to the IRS?
This can affect you in two ways. If you owe taxes for any current or prior-year tax return, the IRS can hold your 2017 refund. On top of that, your maximum late filing penalties could reach 47.5% (25% failure-to-file, plus .5% failure-to-pay over 45 months), plus interest.
Above all, it would also be in your best interest to catch up with your late tax filing.
To find out more about how the IRS assesses tax penalties, click here.
Get started now
Luckily, you have time to claim your refund, but don’t wait until the last minute. A helpful tax tip would be filing your other prior-year tax returns before filing your 2017 tax refund.
Nonetheless, the IRS can hold your refund or use it to apply to any back taxes you may owe. Use our 2017 tax calculator to find out what to expect.