CLARKSBURG — Tax filings are pouring in at the last minute, according to figures from the state tax department.
More than 30 percent of tax filers typically have not filed with the state by a week before the April 15 deadline, according to West Virginia Department of Revenue Deputy Secretary John Doyle.
The department usually receives about 25 percent of filings in the week before April 15 and about 5 to 8 percent afterwards, according to Doyle.
Late filers can expect to wait much longer for their refund, according to Doyle.
“If you’ve got a refund, the earlier you file, the quicker you get the refund back,” he said. “Now it’s going to be something like four to six weeks before you get your refund back.”
Taxpayers can send the state tax department a copy of the federal form for extensions to receive a state extension as well, according to Doyle.
“Our state system is tied very closely to the federal system,” Doyle said. “In just about every case, that’s the rule we go by.”
Both the IRS and the state tax department allow taxpayers to file extensions, but charge interest and late payment fees.
The basic rule is that money owed has to be in by April 15, but the filing doesn’t, according to Bill Quinn, a CPA at Cava & Banko, PLLC.
“The IRS is happy to give you an extension of time to file,” he said. “They don’t want to give you an extension of time to pay.”
Quinn recommended that those who can’t afford to pay the total tax amount, pay as much as possible by the April 15 deadline.
Mark Hanson, IRS spokesperson, said the agency can set up installment plans or extend the payment deadline if needed.
“We do have the flexibility to work with taxpayers on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
He suggested contacting the IRS for assistance toll-free at 1-800-TAX-1040, which is 1-800-829-1040.
“At the end of the day, we want to make sure people meet their federal income tax liability, but we also don’t want to put excessive financial hardship on them that could mean the difference between paying taxes or feeding their family,” Hanson said. “But they have to take the first step to get in touch with us so we know the circumstances.”
At a federal level, about 20 percent of taxpayers wait until April to file, he said.
Many of those who haven’t filed are procrastinating because they know they owe, according to Hanson.
He also recommended that those who can’t afford to pay the total due pay as much as possible by the deadline.
That’s because penalties and interest only apply to the balance due after April 15, according to Hanson.
He also urged even those who can’t afford to pay at all to still file by April 15, so they can avoid the fee for failing to file.
Brian Aman, a CPA in Bridgeport, advised taxpayers to make sure they have all their proper paperwork together or file an extension, rather than risk making a mistake.
“Take advice from professionals you trust and listen to what they say,” he said.
Taxpayers have until the time the post office closes on April 15 to send in their tax returns.
Hanson recommended that those who choose to e-file instead of using traditional mail go straight to freefile.irs.gov. Taxpayers should start there to avoid scams sites posing as the legitimate IRS site, Hanson said.
Staff writer Erin Beck can be reached at (304)626-1439 or by email at email@example.com