Tuesday is tax filing deadline

April 16, 2018

Procrastinators have two more days than usual to file their taxes this year, on April 17.

Federal Tax Day is normally on April 15, which this year falls on a Sunday.

Monday, April 16, is Emancipation Day in Washington D.C., home of the federal government.

The holiday celebrates the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed thousands of slaves in the District of Columbia when Abraham Lincoln signed it on April 16, 1862.

April 17 will be the last day to file individual tax returns. The new tax plan passed at the end of 2017 will not be in effect this year, because technically payers will be filing 2017 taxes, not 2018.

With the filing deadline approaching Tuesday, here’s what you should know about filing income taxes this year:

• The IRS estimates 70 percent of the nation’s individual taxpayers are eligible for the IRS Free File program. The program is open to individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less. Access to IRS forms and Free File partners is available at https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free.

• If you’ve filed your tax return and you’re expecting a refund, you can check the status at https://www.irs.gov/refunds.

• If you’re among the people who don’t religiously file tax returns every year, the IRS reminds people that after three years, any anticipated refunds become the property of the U.S. Treasury. This year, the IRS estimates as many as 1 million taxpayers owed refunds from their 2014 tax returns will lose those refunds if they don’t file their 2014 returns by this Tuesday’s deadline. Along those lines, there is no penalty for filing a late return if you’re entitled to a refund.

• If you can’t file this year’s returns by the due date, the IRS recommends filing a six-month extension. However, an extension doesn’t mean a taxpayers will avoid late payment penalties if they owe taxes.

• For federal tax returns filed more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the late filing penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax. A failure-to-pay penalty is a half-percent per month of the unpaid taxes.

• If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty for late filing is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax. Penalty for late payment. The failure-to-pay penalty is generally 0.5 percent per month of the unpaid taxes.

Tax experts warn against skipping the filing process even if you don’t have the money to pay.

This approach results in greater penalties and other life problems, than filing the tax return without payment. It also leads to restless nights and business issues, like inability to get a loan or falsifying documents.  

Generally, the failure to file penalty is far greater than the failure to timely pay penalty.  

Not facing the situation leaves the person with greater penalties (and usually, anxiety, sometime poor career/business/life decisions) just because they did not file a tax return on time.  

If you have not yet filed taxes, or are considering avoiding your taxes altogether, remember that it is always best to file.

Neglecting to do so only increases the amount that you owe, adding heavy penalties.

A delinquent tax return or late payment can result in dire consequences, such as, collection activity, a lowered credit score, the loss or revocation of your passport, driver’s license, and professional license or business license.

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Category: Updates