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Missed tax filing deadline

Posted by Andrew Chan  April 23, 2012 09:30 AM

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What should I do if I missed the April 17th deadline to file my income tax return? Will I be subject to any penalties?

If you failed to file your federal income tax return on time and you did not request an extension (by filing Form 4868 by April 17th), you should file your return as soon as possible to minimize any potential penalties and interest. If you are receiving a refund, you will not be charged any penalties or interest for filing after the due date. However, late filing and late payment penalties can be assessed if you owe money. In addition, interest can also be assessed on unpaid amounts. The amount of interest that you may owe is typically based on how long your tax liability is outstanding. Therefore, the longer your tax liability remains unpaid the more interest you may owe.

If you still need to file your 2011 tax return, here are some helpful tips from the IRS:

- You can still E-file your return through October 15, 2012.

- The IRS’ Free File program is still available for those who qualify. Taxpayers whose income is $57,000 or less will qualify to file their return for free through IRS Free File. For people who make more than $57,000 and who are comfortable preparing their own tax return, the IRS offers Free File Fillable Forms. There is no software assistance with Free File Fillable Forms, but it does the basic math calculations for you. For more information, check out IRS Free File at irs.gov/freefile.

- If you own money, you should pay as much as you can when you file your return, even if it isn’t the total amount due, and then apply for an installment agreement to pay the remaining balance.

- If you cannot pay the entire amount that you owe, you can request a payment agreement with the IRS. File Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request or apply online using the IRS Online Payment Agreement Application available at irs.gov.

- The IRS cannot waive interest charges, however, they will consider reductions in the amount of penalties assessed if you can establish a reasonable cause for the late filing and payment. Information about penalties and interest can be found at the IRS web site under Avoiding Penalties and the Tax Gap.

- If you expect to receive a tax refund, you should file as soon as possible so you don’t forfeit the right to receive your refund. Although, you will not be charged any penalties or interest for filing after the due date, you may forfeit your right to your refund if your return is not filed within three years.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit www.morganstanleyfa.com/ringer
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