What Are The Tax Deadlines?

Your individual income tax return is generally due on April 15 of the year following the tax year. The return must be postmarked by 11:59pm by that date, or sent via an approved alternate method. (Note: If this, or any date below, falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the due date becomes the next Monday.)

If you cannot file your return by the due date, you can apply for an automatic extension on Form 4868. This must be mailed for a postmark no later than April 15. It will extend the filing deadline to August 15. Note that an extension to file is NOT an extension to pay; your anticipated balance due must be paid with the extension request, and any shortfall will be subject to interest and possible penalty, even if an extension is in effect.

If you cannot file by the expiration of the first extension, an additional extension (not automatic) can be requested on Form 2688. This must be filed before August 15, and would extend your filing deadline to October 15.

Any penalty for late filing of a return is based on the balance due with the return. The basic late filing penalty is 5% per month (or any part of a month), up to five months. (Therefore, a return even ONE day late will be assessed a 5% penalty.) However, if the return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty for this period will be the lesser of $100 or 100% of the tax due.

If the amount of tax paid after April 15 exceeds 10% of your total tax for the year, you will be assessed a late payment penalty equal to one half percent (.5%) per month or part of a month, until paid. If the late filing and late payment penalties apply to the same month, they will not exceed 5% combined. Note that penalties may be increased in cases of gross negligence in intentionally failing to comply with filing requirements.

Balances paid after April 15, whether or not you are on extension, are also subject to interest charges, componded daily at a rate announced quarterly by the Internal Revenue Service. You will be billed for any penalties or interest due on your return.

If you cannot pay the balance owed on your return, you should FILE ON TIME ANYWAY, in order to avoid a late filing penalty. The IRS will bill you for any unpaid tax, penalty and interest. You can also request an installment agreement (Form 9465), which involves a $43 user fee. If you file electronically, you can also charge a balance due to most credit cards; see your electronic filer for details.

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