JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The deadline to file your taxes this year is April 18, and tax preparers at Liberty Tax Service on W. Market Street shared what to do if you still have not filed your taxes.
“If people haven’t filed yet, they’re welcome to come and we will do our very best to get it complete or at least file an extension,” said Darlene Cook, owner of Liberty Tax Service in Johnson City.
The extension allows six months for people to file their taxes if they missed the deadline. If you owe money, it does not excuse you from having to pay.
“Filing an extension is just filing your delay of time to file, but it does not excuse any type of penalties and interest that the IRS would charge,” said Diamond Gibson, tax preparer at Liberty Tax.
The decision to hurry and file taxes now, or to use an extension depends on the complication of the return.
“If it’s very simple, I suggest that you go ahead and let’s file,” said Cook. “If you’ve got a complicated return, such as business, maybe some stocks, bonds, things of that nature, then you’re probably going to want to file an extension.”
People who’ve filed simple tax returns have been receiving their refunds faster than usual.
“We’re supposed to tell you it’s 21 business days, but they’ve been coming in a timely manner,” said Gibson. “So, we’ve been saying about eight to ten. But that’s for tax returns that don’t have any type of complication. So long as you have a good, easy, non-audited tax return, you should be good.”
The tax preparers at Liberty Tax said the average tax return this year has been lower than in previous years.
“Part of that was a law change that affects dependents,” said Cook. “We actually have gone back to pre-COVID numbers. During COVID, the government gave us some allowances on credits and things.”
Tax preparers urge people to seek help of a professional when filing their taxes.
“There are so many errors and numbers that can get miscalculated when you’re doing your tax return,” said Gibson. “So, having someone in your back pocket all the time is a benefit.”
Another tip shared was about how long to keep tax records.
“I recommend 10 years because the IRS can actually go back 10 years,” said Cook. “And so I think that a three-year retention of records is not long enough. Go ahead and keep 10 years just to protect yourself in case.”
A big problem that tax professionals are seeing happening now is phone scams.
“People are getting phone calls and they’re requesting personal information and the IRS will not call you asking for personal information,” said Cook. “If the IRS wishes to get in contact with you, the first thing that will happen is you’ll receive a letter. And so if someone calls and says, ‘I’m from the IRS,’ hang up.”