May 12—PLATTSBURGH — Mark your calendars: Tax Day is near.
Individual tax returns are due on or before Monday, May 17. The typical April 15 due date was extended by more than 30 days this year.
"My understanding was it was extended, because the IRS was having a lot of issues with updating their systems to handle both tax preparation and stimulus checks that came out in January," CPA James "Jim" Holmes told the Press-Republican Monday. "That, sort of, caused some delays and backed things up a little bit."
Holmes, of the Hoffman Eells Group on Boynton Avenue in the City of Plattsburgh, has prepared taxes for 20 years and said some locals had taken advantage of the extra filing days this year.
"The procrastinators are the procrastinators," he said with a laugh. "Everybody who would come in on April 11 is coming in on May 11."
MILLIONS OF RETURNS, REFUNDS
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued a notice Monday, reminding any taxpayers who had yet to file their returns do so soon.
"The extended tax filing deadline — May 17 — is fast approaching," Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller says in the release.
"Our website offers a range of resources to guide you through the filing process and help ensure you submit an accurate and on-time return."
So far this tax season, the state department has processed more than 9 million New York returns and issued 4.7 million refunds.
According to the release, taxpayers with income of $72,000 or less in 2020 could electronically complete and submit their federal and New York State income tax returns online at no cost. More than 192,000 New Yorkers had used the software this year, available at www.tax.ny.gov.
According to correspondence from the office of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General, Holmes said, as of Tuesday morning, the IRS was still processing 8.3 million returns from 2019.
"I knew there was a lot," he said, "but I couldn't believe the figure when I saw it this morning."
So, despite the extended due date, the CPA said there were still delays in receiving refunds.
"Some have been the normal three to four weeks and others have been longer," he said. "I know people who have filed the same day, but then (their refunds) come weeks apart.
"I'm not really sure how they're figuring this."
The Department of Taxation and Finance suggests filing returns electronically and selecting the direct deposit option to receive refunds up to two weeks faster.
"E-filing is safer, faster and more efficient than sending paper returns through the mail," the Monday release says. And you'll receive your refund faster if it's directly deposited into your bank account rather than mailed as a paper check."
Holmes also suggested taxpayers sift through their bank accounts to see, if they were eligible, that they received both of last year's stimulus checks.
"I'm surprised about the number of people who couldn't remember getting their stimulus checks," he said. "I think a lot of the delays are people saying that they didn't get the stimulus check when they possibly did and so the IRS puts them aside to manually review them versus computer review."
And for those who did not receive the checks, Holmes said they could apply for them on their tax return.
REFUND STATUS, HELP
Taxpayers can view the status of their New York State tax refund by using the "Check your Refund" application on the Tax Department's website, www.tax.ny.gov
Tax Department email alerts are available there, as well.
Representatives are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET at 518-457-5181. Representatives will be available until 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 17 to answer last minute questions, the department's release says.
"Before you call, however, consider that the most efficient way to obtain tax filing guidance and information, including answers to common questions, is to visit the Tax Department's website, www.tax.ny.gov," it adds.
"Our filing season resource center is a good place to start."
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