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Can't file by April 15? Get an extension

IRS will automatically extend filing deadline to Oct. 15, but you still have to pay what you owe now.

By Jeff Schnepper Apr 12, 2010 10:37AM

Time is running out and you still haven’t filed your tax return.


You tried doing it yourself but every time you attempt to translate the tax form instructions they come out as a stream of incomprehensible syntax strung together without logic or meaning.


That’s your first mistake. Don’t look for logic in the Tax Code. It’s a product of politics, not reason. The only reason why the blind get an extra standard deduction and the deaf don’t is because the blind lobby was more effective in convincing those in Congress to give them a break.


Interesting, but that doesn’t get your return in the mail.

You called your accountant for an appointment this week and she laughed. “I have an opening the first week in June,” wasn’t the response you were hoping to get. Last time you looked at the calendar, June was after April 15 -- even under the Tax Code.


Take a deep breath, procrastinating taxpayer.


While the IRS deadline for filing your tax return is April 15, you can get an automatic extension to file up to Oct. 15. You get it by sending Form 4868 to the IRS by April 15.


You can file the extension request by mail or file it electronically from the IRS Web site.


All you need is your name, address, Social Security number and an approximation of how much you owe.  If you file the extension by April 15, you get the extension to file up to Oct. 15. You don’t have to give the IRS a reason for the request – the extension to file is automatic.


BUT, it’s an extension to file, not to pay. If you estimate that you’ll owe, send a check with the extension. The IRS will charge interest on any outstanding taxes due that are not remitted by the April deadline. The current interest rate, which changes every three months, is 4%, non-deductible.


So, consider taking that June appointment, or give doing the return yourself another shot with a tax prep program. If your income was less than $57,000 in 2009, you can even file for free on the IRS website. You still have plenty of time to file -- if not to pay.





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