“But Officer…”
The Hazards Of Late Filing

Richard Streitfeld – Buddhist Mensch
 
(It’s N’oreaster time in New England. So cozy up and read one of my favorite back issues. Funny, I didn’t need to update it.)

CALL it the miracle of compound interest. Or the government’s interest in collecting taxes. However you cut it, your household or sole proprietor business can easily rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in late fees even if you are just a few months tardy.

“But Rich, I filed an extension.”
– Over-extended, Milwaukee

Yes, and as it says in Scripture, it is not an extension to pay, just an extension to file. You are expected to pay up by April 15, and you can file the paperwork later. If you underpay with the extension, you pay the price in interest and penalties.

Why is the IRS (and my state) doing that?  Taking my money again!
– Sons of the Minutemen, Montana

Okay, McVeigh, put the gun away.
You said you want the government to operate efficiently, like a business.  What kind of business gives free loans to its customers year after year?  And, um, this is what is left for  last year’s taxes.  You had a full year to withhold properly or pay sufficient estimated taxes.

Hey, I ski all winter and my CPA is arithmetically-challenged. April 15 is too soon to nail this down.
– B. Pascal, France

This is a legitimate beef, or boeuf. You and your professional should do your best to estimate and then overpay if you can, by April 15. Again, you should be thinking about your potential liability during the year, not at the last minute.

I didn’t file extension. Actually didn’t file. Since 2009.
– A.M. Nesia,  Never-Never Land

Ouch. Make that taxes, penalties and a fee for “failure to file.”  On the other hand if you are due a refund, you do not actually need to file an extension (but best to do, just in case.)

Whee. I was underwater for 9 years and the extension would have gotten wet.  I believe I am due refunds.
– J. Cousteau, submerged

Extension or not, refunds are limited by federal and state statutes.  You might have two or three years depending on the jurisdiction, but best to consult your specialiste.

And when is the “drop-dead date” again for 2016? 
R.H. Block, Everywhere

File by April 18. Six month extension available.

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