If you’re one of the millions of Americans who hasn’t filed their 2019 taxes yet, you probably know that the deadline has been extended. But the new deadline date isn’t the only thing that’s different this year. Read on to learn more about other important changes that could affect you.

When are taxes due?

The deadline to file and pay your 2019 federal taxes is July 15, 2020. Most states that require filing – including California – have also extended their deadline to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers will incur no interest, penalties, or additions to their tax during this extension period.

What is the estimated tax payments due date?

In addition to federal income tax payments (for taxable year 2019) being extended, estimated tax payments (for taxable year 2020) that were due on April 15, 2020 have also been extended to until July 15, 2020. This includes payments of tax on self-employment income due to the federal government.

Are California tax deadlines extended?

In California, the filing date and most tax payments – including for LLCs and individuals – have also been extended until July 15, 2020. You can learn more on the California Franchise Tax Board extension page.

Do I need to make a request to be eligible for the new July 15 date?

The IRS is not requiring you to make a request in order to be eligible for the new tax deadline. For California state income tax, almost all personal and business tax documents and payments have been postponed, and you’re not required to make any filing to extend your date to July 15. You should check out details on the California Franchise Tax Board extension page to see what’s applicable to you.

What if I still need an IRS tax extension?

If you need even more time to file, request a filing extension up through October 15, 2020 by using Form 4868 on irs.gov (look for the IRS Free File Open Now link, which will take you to where you can file for an extension).

Keep in mind, however, that getting a filing extension until October 15 will not necessarily give you additional time (beyond July 15) to pay taxes owed. Talk to your tax advisor to learn more.

Should I file electronically or via paper this year?

In April, the IRS urged taxpayers and tax professionals to submit all tax returns electronically. Due to office closures, the IRS is not able to process paper returns right now. The agency has indicated they don’t know when they’ll start processing paper forms because it’s unknown when their offices can reopen. If you choose to file via paper and are owed a refund, your refund will likely be significantly delayed.

You should note that even if IRS offices do not open before July 15 and you choose to file in paper, your tax return still needs to be returned on time. The postmark date on any paper mailings will be used to determine if you met the tax deadline.

Can I get tax forms in paper format?

In 2020, it may be very difficult to get paper forms because the National Distribution Center, the IRS office that normally mails forms and tax publications, is closed due to COVID-19 concerns. You can download most forms at irs.gov/forms.

Are there other tax changes I should be aware of?

Talk to your tax advisor, and also check out the latest version of IRS Publication 17, which covers general rules for filing a federal income tax return. Tax year 2019 saw several changes that can affect individual taxpayers, including rules about medical and dental expenses, as well as deductions for mortgage insurance premiums. Talk to your tax advisor for specific details on these.

Can I get help and questions answered by the IRS?

The IRS has discouraged filers from writing with questions or to inquire about your return, refund or stimulus payment. That’s because the agency doesn’t have the staff to respond to taxpayer questions.

The same is true for attempting to contact the IRS by phone – the IRS has for years struggled to handle the high volume of calls from taxpayers. According to an IRS spokesman, any help available by phone is very limited – most likely, you will be referred back to irs.gov for answers.

If you have tax questions, the best source is your tax advisor or licensed tax preparer.

Should I do direct deposit for my tax refund?

Yes, if you want to get your refund quickly. Because of IRS offices being closed due to COVID-19, the IRS is encouraging filers to opt for direct deposit to get their refund. With offices closed, no one is there to print and mail the checks for paper refunds.

To get your account details for direct deposit, log in to Patelco Online™, click or tap on the account, and then select the Account Details tab. Your MICR ACCOUNT NUMBER is your full account number, and our routing number is 321076470.

Do I need to file taxes in order to get my COVID-19 stimulus payment?

Not necessarily. If you are not required to file federal income taxes, the good news is that you can provide information to the IRS directly to get your payment.

Non-filers have until October 15 to submit information to the IRS so that it can determine eligibility for stimulus payments. If this is you, visit the IRS’ online portal today.

What if I’ve filed taxes but haven’t gotten my economic stimulus payment?

If you filed 2018 and/or 2019 tax year returns already but didn’t get a stimulus payment, visit the IRS’ online portal to get your status.

Does Patelco offer any discounts for filing taxes?

Yes, Patelco members have exclusive access to a TurboTax discount – learn more about this member benefit.

What is the local property tax deadline for 2020?

Many counties are offering economic relief to homeowners during the pandemic by extending property tax deadlines or waiving penalties/fees for late property tax payments. In some areas, this type of tax relief applies only if you pay your property taxes directly, and does not apply if property taxes are collected in an escrow account by your loan servicer.

If you pay your property taxes directly, contact your local government's tax office to check whether property tax deadlines have been postponed.

What if I have more tax questions?

Talk to your tax advisor or licensed tax preparer.

What if I can’t pay my tax bill?

The IRS, as well as state tax boards, often offer payment plans. Your tax advisor or licensed tax preparer can help you decide what to do.

If you’re having difficulty figuring out how to pay for taxes owed, Patelco can also help. Visit patelco.org/FinancialJourney to set up a confidential one-on-one call with one of our Certified Financial Specialists. While our team can’t provide tax advice, they can help you figure out how to pay taxes owed.