The real tax filing deadline is less than three weeks away (Christmas is less than 100 days away but that’s another blog)!
There are many reasons people find themselves needing to delay their tax filing. Sometimes there is no reason, it’s just their least favorite thing to do. “The IRS allows for extensions and for a path to get to October 15th at 11:59 PM before I have to file them. Why not wait until then?”
For many, it’s because they don’t have the money to pay what is due, so they feel like until they send the paperwork in, the IRS doesn’t know. This is unfortunately not really helping anyone, as the tax payments were due on April 15th, whether the return has been filed or not, so interest and penalties are retroactively assessed and nothing is gained by the individual, only by the IRS. Other late filers might be poor souls in flood and fire zones and other disaster areas and they have no records (in some cases no homes at all). In most cases the government has allowed an extension even beyond the October 15th final filing deadline.
Except in rare situations, it’s never helpful to wait to file, but what if you are in one of these situations and you simply cannot get what you need by October 15th? What do you do? Although opinions may vary , we advise our clients to file with whatever information they have, on time. Missing documents; not all the numbers verified; tax documents came in wrong, etc. Just filing with whatever information you have in order to be compliant with IRS filing requirements is the KEY to the process! This shows respect for the tax collection system that runs our country. Just ignoring the filing deadlines shows a certain contempt for the IRS, and government in general. If you file on time and then later you do obtain whatever it is you needed, then you can simply file an amended return with the changes. It’s usually a good idea to file on time, even if you know the information will need to be changed. Be compliant and follow the process as best you can. We have learned that it’s generally the best of all your options. Remember, we are not working for the government, we are private citizens in the tax industry. We are just telling you our opinion based on decades of seeing people handle it both ways.