Tax deadline is fast approaching

April 9, 2013 3:40:15 AM PDT
This year's income tax filing season started a month late because of last year's budget squabbles in Washington.

That doesn't mean you get an extra month to file your return. April 15th remains the deadline, as it usually is. David Stewart of Internal revenue Service told Action News most people who wait this late owe money.

There are all sorts of things you can do to streamline the process, even at the last minute.

First, if you lack the information to file a complete return, send I.R.S. a filled-out Form 4868. This gets you an automatic extension to October 15th to finalize your return.

States accept this, too. But note that it's an extension of the deadline to file the return, NOT an extension of time to pay.

You must estimate your tax liability as best you can, and pay what you project you owe. Otherwise, you'll be liable for penalties and interest. But these would be less than if you file no return.

Stewart says there are ways to meet your liability, even as the clock ticks away. You could borrow money from a relative or friend, take out a bank loan, or even charge your liability.

There's a page on the I.R. S. website that lists third-party providers who will pay the taxes for you and bill your credit card. That address is Pay taxes by credit or debit card.

Stewart also notes that there is no extension of the extension.

Once you file the form and take that automatic extension to October 15th, you must file the completed return by then. You need not wait until April 15th to seek that extension.

If there's any doubt about making the filing deadline, you can file Form 4868. If it turns out you can complete the return, just file it and the extension goes away.

If you can't make any arrangement to pay taxes, owed, Stewart says you should contact I.R.S. right away...probably by phone...and work something out.

Often, the agency can arrange a payment schedule. Again, there may be penalties and interest involved, but by contacting the government rather than waiting for them to find out un-alerted, things go easier and you'll probably emerge with a situation you can afford. Not too many years ago, Action News covered filing deadline crowds at post offices.

Thanks to electronic filing, these have all but gone away. You can find e-file software directories on the I.R.S website.

Using one of these many taxpayers minimizes your chance of making a mistake, and it speeds processing your return. Again, these programs do state returns as well as federal, but fees for those services vary.

Most taxpayers can file their return electronically at no charge. If you do, you'll get an e-mail from I.R.S acknowledging your return, then another confirming that it is being processed.

Even at this late date, e-filing cuts weeks off processing time and speeds any refund to you. If you elect direct deposit, it's faster still.

You may even divide a refund among two or more accounts, as long as all accept electronic payments and have a valid routing number.

If you're uncomfortable doing your own tax return, the I.R.S website has a directory of preparers who will help you free of charge. Go to I.R.S., click on "Contact Us", enter your state, and find a provider near you. Then call up and make an appointment.

States also encourage you to e-file. Both state and federal agencies have forms, instructions and lots more information on their websites.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, both states share the federal government's April 15th filing deadline.

The State of Delaware allows filers until April 30th to file a state return, but note that the state deadline does not apply to residents' federal returns These are still due by April 15th.

I.R.S still operates a toll-free hotline where you may call and get a tax question answered. The number is 1-800-TAX-1040...1-800-829-1040.