Tax deadline nears as H&R Block offers extended hours, more ways to get taxes done
With just one week left until the April 15 tax filing deadline, time is running out for people to file their tax returns. But thanks to H&R Block (NYSE:HRB), the options aren’t running out for people to do their taxes when, where and how they want.
- When: Whether they work the third shift or are a night owl or early bird, many people need help with or want to do their taxes outside regular business hours. During extended hours, H&R Block tax offices across the nation will be open to give people face-to-face help from a tax professional outside of the usual hours and will be open until the last client is served on April 15. H&R Block online filing and desktop tax software products are available 24/7 for people who want to prepare their own taxes day or night.
- Where: H&R Block has an office within 5 miles of most Americans – nearly 10,000 nationwide. But if going to an office isn’t their jam, people can have a tax professional complete their return virtually through Tax Pro Go; clients upload their documents and the tax pro prepares, signs and files their return. Do-it-yourself people can prepare their return using H&R Block online filing and desktop tax software products from their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.
- How: Not everyone falls on either end of the tax-prep-method continuum from having a tax professional prepare their return versus doing it themselves. For people solidly in the middle, H&R Block offers multiple products to meet their specific tax-prep method preference. Those who land closest to the DIY side can prepare their own returns with H&R Block Online and Ask a Tax Pro through unlimited chat or phone and screen sharing capabilities when they have specific questions that come up as they’re preparing their return. Those DIYers a little closer to the middle can still prepare their own returns with H&R Block Online, and use Tax Pro Review to have a tax professional review, sign and e-file their return for them. On the other end, people who want a tax professional to do all the work, but want to interact with the tax professional in a more digital, virtual environment, can use Tax Pro Go to skip the office visit and have an expert file for them.
“Every year, 150 million Americans file taxes and 97 percent of them rely on some type of help. H&R Block is the only tax preparation company to offer consumers complete choice on how they get the tax help they need,” said Kathy Pickering, vice president of regulatory affairs and executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “Not only is H&R Block providing tax help on your terms, but we’re also pioneering upfront, transparent pricing for all our tax prep methods to remove the stress and mystery of wondering what you’ll pay.”
File something and pay by April 15
However and wherever they choose to file, people do need to recognize the IRS filing deadline. To avoid penalties and interest, taxpayers should file either a return or an extension and pay at least 90 percent of their tax liability by April 15. An extension will give them until Oct. 15 to file their return, but not to pay their taxes.
“To avoid late payment penalties, you have to pay at least 90 percent of your taxes due,” Pickering said. “A tax professional can help you estimate your tax liability or you can use a tax calculator online to figure out your tax liability and make any necessary payments to avoid the penalty.”
Even if a taxpayer can’t pay the taxes due, filing a tax return or extension before the deadline can help limit how much ultimately must be paid in penalties and interest. In addition, if they can’t pay their balance due all at once, they can request a short-term extension to pay, enter into an installment agreement with the IRS or even pay with a credit card.
Taxpayers who owe this year may need to update their W-4 with their employer or begin making estimated tax payments to help prevent the same situation next year at tax time. An H&R Block tax professional can provide W-4 planning advice for their clients.
E-file to avoid delays, mailing mishaps
E-filing, which H&R Block helped the IRS test in 1986, has become the standard tax filing experience for more than 9 in 10 taxpayers. It’s the preferred method whether a taxpayer uses a tax professional or prepares their own return. Filing a paper return not only can take longer to process, but there are potential hazards in getting it to the IRS on time. Only certain services from DHL, FedEx or UPS will cut it in the eyes of the IRS, which will consider those returns late if they arrive after the deadline and were not mailed using an approved private delivery service method.
“Aside from using an approved delivery service, people should also know the IRS has a large backlog of paper that it needs to process,” Pickering said. “This is not the year to file on paper if you can possibly avoid it.”
If a taxpayer uses the U.S. Postal Service, the return needs to be postmarked April 15 or earlier. It does not need to arrive by the deadline.
Get help online, virtually or in an office
H&R Block’s tax professionals will help clients online, virtually and in offices claim all the tax breaks they are entitled to and file their returns or extensions so they can avoid failure-to-file penalties that could quickly add up to 25 percent on top of their tax liability.
For additional help estimating their tax liability, filing an extension or understanding their payment options, taxpayers may contact a local H&R Block tax professional. To find the nearest H&R Block office, visit www.hrblock.com or call 800-HRBLOCK. H&R Block locations will be open April 15 until the last client is served. H&R Block digital solutions are available 24/7.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is a global consumer tax services provider. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products for the DIY consumer. H&R Block also offers adjacent Tax Plus products and services. In fiscal 2018, H&R Block had annual revenues of over $3.1 billion with over 23 million tax returns prepared worldwide. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom.
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