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Susan Tompor: July 15 tax return deadline is right around the corner: What to know

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

If you still need to file that 2019 income tax return, it's time to get cracking.

July 15 is the new April 15 for those who still have not filed a tax return. The traditional April income tax deadline was extended this year for 2019 tax returns, due to the upheaval created by COVID-19.

The one-time extension applied for some state and municipal returns too.

Think everybody who waited owes big money? Think again. Oddly enough, experts say millions of procrastinators are likely owed a federal income tax refund for 2019.

H&R Block estimates that more than half of its clients who still need to file would receive a refund after they file. And the tax giant is running TV ads this summer highlighting the prospects of a tax refund.

As many as 11.3 million people still had not received federal income tax refunds for 2019 taxes -- down 10.8% from a year ago, based on data through June 19 from the IRS.

 

Many of those people already filed; others have not.

Many people are furious that they filed long ago and still have not received big refunds. Blame the IRS backlog.

The IRS has ended up processing 11.4% fewer returns through June 19 than at the same time last year. Many IRS operations, including mail facilities, were shut down for some time due to the pandemic.

Many taxpayers who filed 2019 paper returns, for example, could still be waiting for their federal income tax refunds. "The IRS had to suspend the processing of paper tax returns, and as of May 16, it estimated it had a backlog of 4.7 million paper returns," according to the National Taxpayer Advocate's report to Congress.

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