Have you ever had something that you needed to do, but kept putting it off because you still had time? For many folks, getting their tax return prepared before April 15 is one of those things that keep getting put off. Now we are less than 10 days from the due date of most 2013 Income Tax Returns. Perhaps you’re one of those people who get things done early and you’ve already filed, and maybe even gotten your refund too. But for those who haven’t filed yet, that sickening knot in the pit of your stomach is starting to make its presence felt.
There is an easy solution. Rather than panicking, quickly preparing a tax return, and in the process, probably making a mistake (which usually costs you by over paying your tax), you could file an automatic 6 month extension of time to file. It’s called form 4868. You can go to the IRS website (www.irs.gov) and type in the search box (top right) the following…”Form 4868 Instructions” and hit your ENTER key. What pops up is a listing of the “hits” your search found. The very first item is “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File US …” and that is what you put your mouse cursor on and click.
Now you have a 4 page “pdf” file open on your screen that walks you through the simple process of preparing and filing form 4868 by April 15. It’s actually quite easy to do. One important thing though, if you think you are going to OWE the IRS for 2013, you need to put that amount on line 6 of the form 4868 and enclose a check with the extension. On page 4 of the instructions, there is a table showing where to mail your extension. BEWARE, if you are sending in a payment with your extension, there is a different address to send that to than if you expect a refund. As an example, if you expect a refund and live in Nevada, you will be sending your extension to the Fresno IRS address. If you owe money and are enclosing it with your extension and live in Nevada, you will be sending your extension and check to the San Francisco IRS address.
So there you have it. Simple! BUT, you still have to get it done by April 15. Once you have filed an extension, DO NOT make the mistake of putting your tax return out of your mind until the extension has almost run out on October 15th, or 6 months from now you will just be back in the same panic mode of rushing to file, and probably making mistakes too. Instead, casually get your tax return finished and get it filed in the next month or so.
Have you heard? Mark Twain once said: “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”