Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, VITA, tax experts offer advice on filing late, extensions

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — As the tax deadline rapidly approaches on Monday night, April 15, millions of taxpayers across the nation have yet to file.

However, the IRS reminds us that there are still many ways to file and get help with extensions.

The IRS website has helpful resources and offers a free tax service to file electronically. If you are more comfortable getting in-person assistance, free income tax preparation services like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, of Wichita Falls are still taking appointments.

"Even though April 15 is the official penalty-free deadline, you can still file afterward [online] or through an in-person tax assistance program," VITA volunteer Karen Roberts said. "VITA is still taking appointments for April 16 and 17."

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VITA offers free tax services like amendments and regular tax returns for those with gross incomes under $64,000.

If you can't meet the deadline, filing for an extension is an option, but it's important to know that even if you file for an extension, it only waives the late fee of the actual filing portion. The fee for the money you owe still accrues interest until paid.

"On [the IRS website], they have a section titled 'Penalties,' and it all depends on what you owe and then what you have to pay back," Roberts said. "There is going to be a penalty charge if you didn't file on time, there's going to be a penalty charge if you owe them and didn't pay them on time, and then, of course, they love to charge you interest if you haven't paid your bill."

While VITA is there to help, Roberts stressed the importance of staying on top of payments.

"We'll do it for you. If you owe, you need that payment into the IRS today," Roberts said. "Even if it's $20 going toward your bill, it needs to be there today. So you want to do that. Make sure you can get it done, but you need that payment in. The more you pay, the less you owe."

To schedule an appointment or to become a tax assistance volunteer, call VITA at (940) 733-8299.

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