What you need to know if you’re filing last minute or waiting on a refund

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NEW ORLEANS -- Tax day is here, and if you’ve been putting off your taxes, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The IRS says millions of people still haven’t filed their tax returns.

If you need a six month filing extension to October 15th, file FORM 4868 via paper, online or on the phone. You have to pay your estimated tax though or you will be charged interest and incur a penalty (5% of the balance due for each month your return is late, up to a 25% maximum).

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If you can’t pay, they do have payment plans, but experts suggest you pay off what you can as soon as you can, because you’ll still incur those penalties and be charged interest.

If you're due a refund, you won't be punished for failing to file on time, but you won’t see that money until you file. You have three years from the original deadline to file and still receive your money, but if you don't file by then you'll miss out on your refund.

As of March 30th, the average refund paid out so far was $2,900, according to IRS data. And the turn-around time to get your refund is pretty fast: The IRS issues 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days after a return is filed.

You can also track your refund online, and see when the IRS expects to direct deposit or mail yours by using the IRS' "Where's my refund?" tool, which is updated daily. You'll need to enter your Social Security number, your filing status and the refund amount you put on your return.

There are some circumstances in which your refund may take longer. Specifically, if the IRS has found an error on your return or requests more information from you.

Also, if you filed in January or early February and claimed the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS by law was not allowed to start sending that money out until February 15.

For more information, go to irs.gov

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