From the IRS
Nine things to know about penalties
Here are nine things the IRS wants you to know about the two different penalties you may face if you do not pay or file on time. Find out more
Help for those who waitWhere to turn online for help with your taxes.
Whether people file paper or electronic tax returns, millions likely will still file at the last minute, or seek extensions. So, we offer another round of tax-related sites for all the procrastinators.
Why April 15? It's more or less an arbitrary date. This Fortune Magazine article describes the history of income tax days in the United States and suggests that the deadline moved later and later into the year during the last century to spread the workload for the Internal Revenue Service, or to delay refunds as long as possible, or for both reasons.
Last strategies. One of the last-minute tax-filing strategies noted on the SayEducate site is a reminder that Congress is allowing deductions from 2009 income for charitable contributions for Haiti earthquake relief made through February 2010. It also reminds readers who were out of work in 2009 that the first $2,400 of unemployment compensation is tax-free. That was another onetime exception due to the Great Recession.
Last dash. Bankrate.com published this two years ago, but the advice for millions of people who'll still file paper returns remains valid. Call or visit your post office to check its hours for April 15. If you're racing for a postmark that day, look at the mailbox to see if you've missed the last pickup. If you have, consider a commercial overnight service to ensure a valid postmark.
Last hour. For eleventh-hour information on taxes, the most commonly used forms, and how to file by mail or electronically, start at this Internal Revenue Service page:
Too late? If you're off to so late a start on your taxes that you feel you can't make the deadline, you still have to file something. At a minimum, taxpayers must file for a deadline extension. Here's the IRS form you'll need. But be warned: Filing for an extension doesn't mean you get off the hook on any taxes due and owing on April 15. Don't get caught in that bind.
Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Reid Kanaley, Inquirer staff writer