Chicago Sun-Times - - BUSINESS - BY SARAH SKID­MORE SELL AP Per­sonal Fi­nance Writer

It’s time to do your taxes.

As the pan­demic took hold this spring, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment post­poned the April 15 fil­ing dead­line un­til July 15.

Tax­pay­ers must file or seek an ex­ten­sion by the new dead­line or face a penalty. The IRS is ex­pect­ing about 150 mil­lion re­turns from in­di­vid­u­als, and as of last count, it had re­ceived al­most 142 mil­lion.

So for those of you still wait­ing to file, make a pay­ment or with other ques­tions, a few an­swers:

Do I have to?

Yes. In most cases, you must file and pay your taxes by July 15.

Tax­pay­ers who need more time can re­quest an ex­ten­sion on the IRS web­site

( That will give them un­til Oct. 15. How­ever, an ex­ten­sion to file does not mean added time to pay. So those plan­ning on fil­ing later should es­ti­mate what they owe and make that pay­ment by July 15.

I can’t pay now, what do I do?

Go ahead and file even if you can­not pay. The IRS is will­ing to set up pay­ment plans or make other ar­range­ments with tax­pay­ers who can­not pay in full.

What about re­funds?

The IRS is still pro­cess­ing and is­su­ing re­funds, most within 21 days. Those get­ting re­funds will be paid in­ter­est, dat­ing back to April 15, if they file on time. The in­ter­est rate is 5% per year through June 30. Start­ing July 1, it drops to 3% per year. Any re­fund is­sued af­ter July 1 will get a blended rate.

I don’t want to go any­where. Can I do this on­line?

Yes, you can file or pay your taxes on­line — in fact, it could be the way to go to avoid a de­layed re­fund for 2019. The IRS urges tax­pay­ers to use elec­tronic op­tions. The agency is still work­ing its way through an es­ti­mated back­log of 12 mil­lion pieces of mail that built up dur­ing its clo­sure in re­sponse to the pan­demic.

What about es­ti­mated taxes? Tax­pay­ers who make es­ti­mated quar­terly tax pay­ments have un­til July 15 to make the pay­ments for the first and sec­ond quar­ter. Those were orig­i­nally due on April 15 and June 15 re­spec­tively.

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