Tax Day 2021: What you need to know and how to file for an extension

May 17, 2021, 10:05 AM
a tax form, 1040, is often used to file taxes...
A hypothetical family, the Beehives, is used to show what the tax burden a typical family in Utah would pay. Photo credit: Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Today is Tax Day and local experts say many people have waited until the last minute to file, despite the deadline being roughly a month later than usual.

Tax Day in May

Susan Speirs, CEO of the Utah Association of CPAs, says even with the extra time, a lot of people are simply wired to wait until the last day.

“People tend to wait until the last minute to file, especially if they owe,” she explained. “It’s just human nature.”

She added moving the deadline back had the unintended consequence of placing an even heavier burden on accountants and tax experts.

“A lot of long hours and a lot of midnight oil being burned,” said Speirs. “You know, because people wait until the last minute, but they don’t want to extend their return.”

Not ready? Look to file for an extension

For those who haven’t filed yet and don’t think they’ll be able to do so by today, she says the best option is getting an extension.

IRS Form 4868 is needed to grant an extension. It can be submitted electronically and will push the deadline to file back to October 15.

Those who don’t file on time or get an extension will be hit with a late filing and/or late payment fee. According to Speirs, those penalties can add up to 25% of the tax due.

According to a recent CNBC poll, about a third of all people procrastinate to file their taxes.

A majority say they do so because it’s too time-consuming. About 22% of respondents claim to put off the activity because of the stress involved, while another 10% say they’re in no hurry to file because they know they aren’t set to receive a refund. Only 6% claim to put off filing because they’re worried they’ll end up owing money to the government.

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Tax Day 2021: What you need to know and how to file for an extension