Time’s up if you asked for an extension to file your taxes back in April. If you weren’t ready to file April 18th (April 15th was a holiday in some areas, so the deadline shifted to Monday), then this coming Monday is your new deadline.
This time, though, there are no extensions. You MUST file your 2010 taxes by Monday or your return will be delinquent.
(You don’t want the IRS to consider you delinquent. When your tax filing status goes delinquent, the Feds will charge you penalties and interest, and payment deals you’ve made with them in the past may be thrown out. The IRS does not have a sense of humor about tax payers going delinquent. They will suspect the worst of you, and they’ll act on their suspicions!)
Our firm is getting a flurry of last-minute calls from people panicked because they waited until now to file their return. Some of the callers are still waiting for information from partnerships or other sources of income, but most of the folks just put filing taxes out of their mind.
If you haven’t filed your 2010 taxes yet, here are our suggestions on what to do to make the deadline:
- If you have a simple situation file online, maybe for free. If your return is simple, there are commerical and government sites that will do your taxes for free. See the Consumer Reports article from earlier this year… the links in it that I checked today are still working.
Most people who have waited until now to file, have more income and some complex things going on so that free filing is not available to them. The commerical services that offer free services to low-income filers, also have paid programs for people with complex returns.
Check out the commerical sites, and let them walk you through the return.
- If you have a more complex situation and need automated resources, find a DVD of commerical 2010 tax software, and prepare the taxes on your computer.We haven’t formally tested any of the major programs, but from what we’ve seen, they do an excellent job in getting the math right, and they also have interview-like Q&A’s that will suggest deductions and other tax-saving measure.
The 2010 programs issued in the spring, still should be good. Make sure that you check for update to download any fixes they’ve discovered over the months!
- If you want to meet with someone face-to-face to go over issues, call a Certified Public Accountant local to you. At this time, most CPA’s are offering most callers appointments after October 17th. Fortunately, you can book an appointment with a CPA for later in the month and still avoid being delinquent.
To avoid going delinquent, submit the best Form 1040 that you can by Monday. If you are missing hard data for a line, make your best estimate. You may find places to comment that what you’ve written down is your best estimate.
File your best tax estimate with the Federal and state authorities by October 17th. Then when you meet with the CPA, you will have them refile your completed taxes as an amended return. Even if you were significantly mistaken in your initial tax filing, you’ll be much better off than if you didn’t file at all.
Whatever you do between now an Monday night, don’t panic!
The IRS isn’t going to come for your retirement fund Tuesday morning because you failed to submit your return on Monday. You won’t need to run to a defense attorney or to Canada.
But, still… don’t go delinquent. You don’t have to!