If you requested an extension to the April 15 deadline (4/17 in 2012 & 4/18 in 2011), you have until October 15 to file your return. While not ideal, some people miss the second deadline and find themselves in a compromising position. With this in mind, you should still remember that filing after October 15 (10/17 in 2011) is more than possible. In fact, you want to do so as quickly after this deadline as possible – this will help to minimize damage.
To file late you can do one of three things: use tax filing software such as TaxCut or CompleteTax; file on your own; or hire a tax professional with experience filing late returns. If you are worried about what you will run into the best option is to hire a professional.
No matter how you prepare your return you will need to mail it to the IRS upon completion. To ensure that your documents make it to the IRS send it certified mail along with return receipt requested. The last thing you need is for the return to get lost and additional penalties to add on.
Do you have a balance due with your return? If so, there will be a penalty for filing late. At this time the penalties are:
- Failure to File Penalty – Five percent of the total balance for each month or partial month that the return is filed after the deadline (Up to 25% of the total balance). If you filed for an extension then this calculation starts on October 15th.
- Interest “Penalty” – Four percent annual interest on all unpaid balances. This calculation starts on the date that taxes payments were originally due, which is April 15th (4/18 in 2011 & 4/17 in 2012). Interest is updated every three months so this figure may not be entirely accurate. This is calculated by taking the federal short term rate (1% currently) and adding 3% points if you are an individual.
- Failure to Pay Penalty – ½ percent of the total balance for each month or partial month that the balance is unpaid. The calculation of this penalty starts on April 15th (4/18 in 2011 & 4/17 in 2012), not October 15th since taxes owed are always due April 15th (4/18 in 2011 & 4/17 in 2012) and you cannot get an extension to pay taxes.
As you can see by these penalties it is essential to file your return as soon as possible. Even if you don’t do so by October 15 (10/17 in 2011), the quicker you act the better off you are going to be.
Filing your tax return after the October 15 (10/17 in 2011) deadline with a balance due will result in penalties. How much you pay depends on how many months have gone by, as well as the amount of your original balance.
Before you can file you must get together all proper documentation including 1099’s, W-2’s, and receipts.
If you owe a significant amount of penalties it may be in your best interest to talk with a tax relief professional about your situation. There are ways to reduce or eliminate penalties owed to the IRS. The most common form of penalty removal is through penalty abatement. With penalty abatement, you will have to prove that you have a valid excuse for not paying or not filing your taxes on time. There are many valid excuses the IRS takes and if you do fall into one of the categories accepted by the IRS you may be able to have your penalties removed.
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