Getting Your Tax Returns Filed Before the Deadline
It's essential to get your tax returns completed as soon as possible. Here's what to know if you are filing your taxes at the last minute.
Federal tax returns are due to the IRS by April 17, 2018 . If it's looking like your returns might come in under the wire this year, you might not need to worry too much. Still, it's essential to get your tax returns completed as soon as possible. Here's what to know if you are filing your taxes at the last minute:
Using free filing services
Like some previous years, the IRS is giving U.S. taxpayers a few additional days beyond the traditional April 15 deadline to file (since April 15 this year falls on a Sunday, and April 16 is considered a legal holiday in the District of Columbia for Emancipation Day). Of course, the IRS and most other tax professionals do not recommend putting off your tax returns until the last minute. Rushing to meet the deadline increases the likelihood of an error when filing, which could delay any refund you would receive or lead to further complications.
If you must file on short notice , the IRS recommends taking advantage of its Free File program. For taxpayers who made $62,000 or less in 2017, it's possible to sign up for electronic tax filing services without additional charges. Visit the Free File website to review the list of providers, some of which have a lower eligibility limit on income. Using these services or the help of a certified tax professional, your returns can be quickly checked for errors and then sent electronically to the agency. The whole process could take just a couple of hours for taxpayers who only have to report basic income from W-2 forms.
What if you still can't meet the IRS deadline, or don't have enough cash right now to pay your entire tax bill? Don't panic - even in these situations, you still have another option.
Filing for an extension
According to the IRS, whether you know you owe something or don't think you'll owe anything, you should still file for an extension before the April 17 deadline . Most taxpayers receive an automatic six-month extension if they are unable to file on time, provided they are already in good standing with the IRS. It's possible to electronically file for an extension, just as you would file a normal tax return. That would push the due date for your final tax return to October 15, 2018. However, there are different rules surrounding tax extensions for some people serving in the military or living outside of the U.S.
The IRS urges taxpayers to file for an extension and pay as much as they can if they know they owe income tax but can't pay the full amount now. While an extension gives you extra time to file your tax return, it does not give you extra time to pay your taxes. However, an extension can help reduce your penalties if you cannot pay in full by the deadline.
Don't worry too much if tax season snuck up on you this year, but take the opportunity now to mark your calendar for next year's returns: The deadline reverts back to April 15 in 2019.