Tax procrastinators be warned — Monday is the deadline to get your taxes filed.

The Internal Revenue Service began accepting 2021 tax returns in January. And while Tax Day is normally April 15, Monday will mark the third year in a row the Internal Revenue Service has extended the filing date for federal tax returns.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for tax returns in 2020 was extended to July 15. The federal government extended the tax deadline again last year to May 17. This year, the deadline has been pushed forward because of Emancipation Day, a government holiday celebrated in the District of Columbia.

Last-minute filers will need to submit their 2021 tax returns by Monday or request an extension, which would give them six more months to get their fiscal declaration in order.

An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay, however, and taxpayers must estimate their tax liability and pay any amount due by the filing deadline to avoid penalties and interest.

If you’re owed a refund, there is no penalty for filing federal taxes late.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically because tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and reduces tax return errors by prompting taxpayers for missing information.

Even while your local post office may offer extended hours on Tax Day, the fastest way to receive a refund is to file electronically and use direct deposit, the IRS says.

IRS Free File is available to any person or family with an adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less in 2021. Most tax software providers make their online products available for free, and taxpayers can use IRS Free File to claim the remaining amount of their Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and other important credits.

The IRS estimates 1.5 million taxpayers did not file a 2018 tax return to claim tax refunds worth more than $1.5 billion — and the three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund from that year closes Monday for most taxpayers.

If they don’t file a 2018 tax return by the deadline, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the 2018 tax return is postmarked by that date.

The IRS considers a tax return filed on time if it is addressed correctly, has enough postage, and is postmarked by the due date.

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