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Susan Tompor: Coronavirus confusion continues in 2020 tax season

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Sure, we thought the chaos and confusion of last year's tax season was long behind us.

This year, they told us, was bound to be better as people became more familiar with the new tax rules that initially showed up on 2018 tax returns.

Then the coronavirus crisis took hold in the United States. And 2020 tax season has become more confusing by the minute.

Now, the April 15 deadline for filing and paying your taxes has been extended to July 15. But you might not want to wait that long, especially if you're owed a federal income tax refund. The Internal Revenue Service said most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

Here's a look at key tax questions in light of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020:

Q: How can extending the federal deadline to July 15 help me?

 

A: Taxpayers who owe money would be able to defer federal income tax payments that would have been due on April 15 to July 15. And you would not get slapped with any penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. It buys you 90 days and saves you some money.

Q: Can the IRS give me information on stimulus checks?

A: The IRS has a special page at www.irs.gov/coronavirus, but late on March 29, the IRS site still had no information on stimulus checks. It also stated that people do not need to sign up to get these checks. The page will be updated regularly. The IRS says: "Please do not call the IRS about this."

Q: Can I wait to make contributions to my IRA or Roth IRA?

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