Tax Money Is Due This Month But Paperwork Deadlines Can Be Extended
With this year's tax deadline on April 17 instead of April 15, New Yorkers already have a two-day extension, but taxpayers who need more time to either file or pay have options. NY1's Money Matters reporter Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
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If April arrived quicker than expected, no need to worry. Those who cannot file on time can always file for an extension. Form 4868 automatically gives you an extra six months to get your paperwork in.
However Dianne Besunder of the Internal Revenue Service says it is important to know this is an extension to file, not an extension to pay. So be ready to send a check with the application.
"You need to make your best estimate of what you owe, if you owe, and send that in along with your request," says Besunder.
Procrastination is one thing, but failing to file altogether is another. Those who do not file either taxes or that application for extension by April 17 will be hit with a penalty 5 percent of the unpaid taxes every month.
Taxpayers who cannot afford to pay what they owe can easily get a payment plan, according to H&R Block tax associate Wilma Hayes.
"They have an installation plan and you can just sign a form with them and just pay according to your ability," says Hayes.
Of course, this option also has some fees. There's a one-time set-up fee of $105. Choose to have the monthly payments debited directly from one's bank account, and that fee is essentially cut in half to $52.
While these payments can be spread out even longer, to six years instead of five, Hayes says the shorter the payment, the better.
"You're going to continue to incur interest and penalty on the balance until you pay it off," says Hayes.
Right now the interest rate is 3 percent and the monthly failure to pay penalty is another 0.5 percent on top of that.
This year, however, the IRS is offering struggling taxpayers a little leeway through an expansion of their Fresh Start program.
"Basically what we are offering them is an opportunity to avoid, if they owe taxes, to avoid the 'failure to pay penalty,'" says Besunder.
The penalty relief is available to taxpayers who were unemployed for 30 consecutive days last year or the beginning of this year or to those who are self-employed and saw their income drop at least 25 percent.
The applications for this extension, the automatic six-month extension or the installment agreement can all be submitted on paper or through irs.gov.