You must first collect all your tax records in order to start preparing a tax return. Once your documents are organized, you'll have to determine which IRS Form is the correct return to file. For individual tax returns, you can file Form 1040EZ, 1040, or 1040A – depending on the complication of your return. Business/corporate returns are filed using different IRS Forms. They can be manually or electronically filed, depending on your preference.
The due date of your federal tax return is April 15 of the year following the tax year. A return that is mailed with a postmark on or before April 15 will NOT be considered late.
Extensions of time to file:
If you are unable to file your return on time, you can apply any time before the due date of the return for an extension of time. This extension request is done on Form 4868 by completing the form and mailing to your local IRS office. The extension typically gives you another six months after the due date to file your return (October 15).
Downside of filing an extension:
- The taxpayer will have to pay interest on tax due since April 15
- Tax liability estimated payment is due with filing of the extension Form 4868
- If the tax paid with Form 4868 is less than 90% of the actual tax due, the filer will be subject to a late-payment penalty
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