This year’s taxes are due in just one day on April 17, not the usual April 15 (since it landed on a weekend day, tax returns are due the following business day, but since Monday, April 16, is "Emancipation Day," a legal holiday in Washington, D.C., an extra day has been added).
Still, if you have yet to file, it’s not the end of the world. You still have options, but you have to act now.
First, skip the hassle of hiring a tax preparer or waiting at the post office to get your return postmarked by April 17 and file your taxes online. If you earn less than $57,000 a year, you are eligible to use name-brand software to file your taxes at no charge. Free File fillable forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, have no income restrictions. Visit www.irs.gov/freefile to get started.
Refunds generally arrive quicker, a few weeks in some instances, when you submit your taxes electronically.
If you owe tax with your federal return and you can’t afford to pay it all when you file, the IRS offers options to help you keep interest and penalties to a minimum. They include the following:
—The IRS will allow you to request an installment-payment agreement. You do not need to wait for the IRS to send you a bill before you request the agreement. To request an agreement, can use the “online payment agreement application” at www.irs.gov, or you can complete and submit the IRS Form 9465-FS and submit it with your return.
—Pay by credit card: Compare the interest rates and fees charged by your credit card. They may be lower than interest and penalties imposed by the IRS.
If you receive a bill from the IRS, contact the agency immediately to discuss payment options. Ignoring the bill will only intensify your problem and could lead to IRS collection action.
Here are some additional links if you can’t pay your taxes on time:
−Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request
−Publication 966, The Secure Way to Pay Your Federal Taxes
−Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process
−Form 1127-A, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Income Tax for 2011 Due to Undue Hardship ( PDF)
For an extension of state tax filings, please visit your state's tax website for specific information and forms.
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