What taxpayers who haven't filed returns need to know before Monday's deadline

Published: Apr. 12, 2019 at 11:27 PM EDT
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(04/11/2019) - There are just 3 days remaining, before federal and state income tax returns are due.

It's also the first time people are filing since the GOP tax plan passed.

The biggest takeaway, after talking with tax experts on Friday, is the importance of filing your return on time if you owe taxes to avoid paying a penalty.

"I just kind of put it off, no reason,:" said Bob Tabbert.

We asked the Genesee Township resident why he hadn't filed his 2018 tax return yet.

Thankfully he doesn't owe any money. He's not the only one who has put off filing his return this year.

"One out of every three people we know file in April," said Edward Madden.

A tax specialist with H&R Block, Madden said they're seeing a little more procrastinating this year, due in part, to reports of people getting smaller refunds.

"What we're finding out is that people received more money through the year because their withholdings changed," he said.

Madden explains what some of the biggest changes under the new tax law are.

"The personal exemption has gone away," he noted, "the standard deduction has increased."

It's nearly doubled this year.

"The new tax laws have helped the average person by decreasing the tax rates," Madden added.

Another change is the new "look" of the returns:

"The forms are all a half a page or less," said William Tadrick,"it makes no sense at all, the government is just wasting paper."

Tadrick, the Corporate President of Tadrick's Tax Service, said if you owe money on your taxes- it's better to file your return on time.

"If you file your tax return on time," he said," and send it with no money , then they only charge for interest. You avoid that 5% per month late filing fee."

Not everyone puts off filing on purpose.

"Really I almost forgot," said Gerald Scarborough.

The 82-year old got a timely reminder Friday morning:

"I got a phone call from my daughter and she said have you had your taxes done yet," he recounted. "I'm here, I got it, it's done."

If you haven't filed yet, you have until midnight Monday.

Choosing electronic filing and direct deposit is considered to be a safe and convenient way to file. Last year, more than 4.2 million Michigan taxpayers e-filed, which is nearly 85% of state income tax filers.

For those owed a refund by the federal government who have put off filing their 2015 return--the three- year window also closes on Monday.

Your return must be in the hands of the IRS before midnight, a postmarked return will not suffice for returns dating back to 2015.

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