NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Tax Day is here!
Today is the deadline for filing your 2011 federal and state income tax returns. The envelopes must be postmarked by midnight tonight.
But you haven’t prepared your return yet. Do not worry – all is not lost. You can file a Form 4868 to request a 6-month extension (due Oct.15) to file the return. Your Form 4868 also must be postmarked by midnight tonight. In most cases, filing a federal extension request will also extend your state return. Form 4868 is available at the IRS website.
I must point out that the extension is for time to file your tax – it is not an extension of time to pay your tax. Uncle Sam will charge you interest, and a small penalty, from April 17 until your tax is paid in full. If you think you will owe the IRS, you should include a check with the Form 4868.
What if you don’t have the money to pay the tax you owe? It is very important that you get your tax return, or extension request, in the mail today – even if you cannot pay all, or any, of the tax due. Send what you can with the return – but if you can’t send anything, still be sure to mail the return.
The IRS penalty for paying late is .5% of the tax due per month, or part thereof, until paid. The penalty for filing late is 5% per month – 10 times as much.