Last minute tax filing tips for procrastinators

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 By

Tax day

"She's never going to make it." -- Are you a tax procrastinator? Image: dizznbonn/Flickr/CC BY

Most years, the last day to file income taxes is April 15. This year though, taxpayers get an extra two days to file. For many, this will still be too soon. Here are some last minute filing tips for tax procrastinators.

Why April 17?

The reason tax filing day is later than normal this year is that April 15 falls on a Sunday, and Monday, April 16, is when the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day.

The IRS explains:

“According to federal law. District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do; therefore, all taxpayers will have two extra days to file this year.”

How about an extension?

If the tangle of forms is just too much to negotiate before April 17, nearly any taxpayer is eligible to receive a six-month extension. If you owe taxes, however, you will still have to pay by April 17 to avoid penalties and interest. But by estimating taxes owed and filing Form 4686, that paperwork can wait until as late as October 15.

The easiest way to estimate that tax payment, if your situation has stayed the same, is to use the figure from your previous year’s tax return. The extension can be filed by mailing the form, or it can be done online.

[Tax procrastinator? File an extension. Pay now with an online loan.]

According to Business Watch, the tax prep site eSmartTax.com is offering to do your taxes for free if you file for an extension using several easy steps on the company’s website. There is, however, a charge of $9.95 to file for an extension.

Let IRA shelter some money

Taxpayers still have until April 17 to make tax-deductible contributions to an IRA account. It can lower your tax burden, and you will thank yourself for it when it comes time to retire, too.

Details, details

Taking your time and reviewing everything carefully before filing is a must. Even seemingly insignificant, honest mistakes can delay things at best, and cost you penalties at worst.

File electronically

Filing electronically can save you a last minute drive to the Post Office as well as standing in line with all the other tax procrastinators. Also, it you have a refund coming, you should see it within a few days as opposed to a few weeks.

New forms added

The IRS has some new requirements and forms this year for some taxpayers. Those with small businesses using online sales processors like PayPal or those with assets of $50,000 or more abroad, for instance, may find new hoops to jump through this tax season. Don’t forget to check.

Sources

US News and World Report
Market Watch
Daily Finance

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