While the new deadline of July 15th is still a little ways off -- and returns are being delayed due to the IRS being understaffed -- that’s no reason not to go ahead and get it done.

There are a few things you’ll want to know before you get started though.

How and When to File

While most accountants and tax filers are behind, many agencies are still working to process clients’ tax returns and paperwork, just not in the office or in person. Try setting up a Skype, Facetime, or Zoom meeting with your accountant or tax agent.

Also, while Tax Day may have been pushed back to July 15, you might as well go ahead and file now and do so electronically, especially if you’re expecting a refund.

The IRS has limited its services due to the coronavirus. Because they’ve had to furlough much of their staff, the IRS can’t process individual mailed-in returns, which are used by about 10% of people. That means they can’t issue those filers a refund, so paper filers are looking at significant delays in getting their money back from the government.

State Filing Date

While some states have different due dates on filing and paying, Arkansas has aligned with the new national filing date of July 15th.

Free Filing

Accountants and other tax preparers are struggling to get caught up due to stay at home orders. So, if you haven’t filed yet, there are a few things to consider.

If your adjusted gross income is $69,000 or less per year, you’re eligible for the IRS program “Free File.” Few people actually use the program, according to the IRS.

There are also free services available to U.S. veterans and their families.

IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs are available to taxpayers who earned less than $54,000 in 2015. All tax returns completed through VITA are prepared by IRS certified volunteers. There are over 12,000 convenient locations across the country. To find the VITA location nearest you, enter your zip code at VITA/TCE Locator.

There’s also MyFreeTaxes. It allows all qualified veterans, active-duty military, their families, and all other qualifying taxpayers who earned $69,000 or less in 2019 to file both a federal and state tax return absolutely free. The program also provides in-person help to some individuals and families. The MyFreeTaxes initiative is managed by UnitedWay, with assistance from legacy partners, National Disability Institute, and Goodwill Industries International. It is also sponsored by the Wal-Mart Foundation.