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Welcome to Tax Day 2013.
Are you ready to file? Did you already file? Do you need more time to file? No problem.
There are, of course, many legitimate reasons why taxpayers need more time to file. According to Forbes, one of the most common reasons people end up needing more time to file their taxes is that they're still trying to organize the myriad sources of their income.
Not everybody, after all, can look to their annual W-2 for the documentation they need. Many run their own businesses or are independent contract workers.
As well, there are more than a few folks out there who are still waiting for others to send the tax documents they need. They might be trust or estate beneficiaries, shareholders, investors or partners in business entities just now getting their forms in the mail. You might not have received your forms on time. You might still be waiting for a 1099-R.
There are lots of reasons you may need to file your taxes after today, and, reports Forbes, unlike the belief of many, asking for more time to pay your taxes doesn't increase your risk of an audit or examination.
Filing for an extension gives you a six month extension of the original time to file. That means, with an extension you'll have until October 15 to file a return. As long as you file for your extension by today --- either online or get a snail-mail postmark with today's date --- you will not be subjected to the late-filing penalty, which is normally 5 percent of your unpaid balance, per month.
There are several options available to file an extension. You can:
- File for an extension online for free using Free File link on IRS.gov;
- Ask your tax preparer to file for extension for you;
- File using tax preparation software such as TurboTax, TaxAct, or H&RBlock; or
- File for an extension using the federal form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (downloads as a pdf).
Then, in order to file an extension, you'll typically need to provide the following key information:
- Your name (and spouse's name if you're filing jointly);
- Your address;
- Your Social Security (and spouse's Social Security number if you're filing jointly);
- Estimate of total tax liability for 2012;
- Total amount of what you paid in 2012 (including withholding);
- The amount you're paying with the extension, if anything. This is important, because when you ask for an extension, you are asking for more time to get your paperwork in to the Internal Revenue Service --- not extra time to pay. That means, if you anticipate owing a sum at tax time and you are indeed filing an extension, you should make a payment with your extension request, tax experts recommend.
Since the rules for timely filing apply, be sure and get your extension postmarked by the end of the day, today. Many U.S. Post Office locations are open until midnight.