We’re glad you asked.
You’re not the only one who wants to know – around this time of year, a lot of clients call us and are very confused about what, exactly, the extension deadline is. Don’t they get a free pass on their taxes if they missed the April deadline? Why is the IRS contacting them? What should they do?
First of all, read this.
There’s a common misconception that if you don’t do your taxes in April, you automatically have until October 15th to get them squared away. This is not true.
The first thing you should understand is that this October deadline is an extension to file, NOT an extension to pay. You don’t get six extra months to come up with the money, though that would be nice! The extension is just a grace period so you have more time to do the paperwork.
If you filed an extension back in April, you should have still paid all the estimated taxes you owed back in April. (If you came to us for help back then, you should be in good shape right now.) If October rolls around and you haven’t paid, you will most likely owe penalties and interest. You can read more about that here.
The extension form you should have filed back in April is Form 4868, which you can find here. Remember, in order to get the extension, you have to submit the form! If you don’t file an extension, and you ALSO don’t file your taxes, you don’t have an extension. You’re just late. (And you should come talk to us right away.)
If you’re wondering whether the IRS will let you wait until after October 15th to file, the answer is NO. Unless you are a member of the military, are living abroad, or have a truly extraordinary extenuating circumstance like your town being destroyed by Godzilla, you HAVE to file by October 15th. There are really no exceptions for the average person.
If you haven’t filed by this last-ditch deadline, you will be subject to increasingly strict penalties on top of the taxes you already owe. And you don’t want that.
You also can’t keep filing extensions. One per year is all you get.
Remember, if you didn’t file your taxes, or didn’t pay on time, or can’t pay because you owe too much, it’s not the end of the world. We can help you figure out the next step. We can work with you and the IRS to come up with a payment plan or get the debt moved to Currently Not Collectible status. But you have to come talk to us right away. The longer you wait, the more problems you will have with your good friends at the IRS.
If you have any questions, give us a call at 844-841-9857, or schedule a free consultation here.