Avoiding penalties from the IRS

Your return and payment are both due to the Internal Revenue Service Wednesday. Thursday, penalties kick in for late filing and late payments, plus interest.

Long lines on Wednesday at the downtown Paducah post office go to show people tend to put off doing their taxes. A woman named Anne said she usually waits until the last day. Every year on April 15, she sends off an extension and picks up a birthday card. “I was sitting in the hospital bed filing my taxes that afternoon,” Anne said. “She (Anne’s daughter) arrived about five hours later, so tax day is extra special at our house.”

It was also a busy day for tax preparers. Dean Owen said they’ve been filing extensions for the last five days. “You may have had a situation where you just couldn’t get to it today. We don’t recommend trying to hurry up and rush through it, because it’s too easy to make mistakes and extensions are free,” he said.

If you owe the IRS but can’t pay the full amount, Owen suggested sending what you can before the deadline is past. “The IRS will give you credit for it, and then they’ll send a bill for what’s due,” he said.

There are ways to avoid penalties even if you do like to procrastinate. “I probably will wait again, and I will probably be doing this every year until I am no more,” Anne said. 

The fastest way to get an extension form in now is to do it online. It gives you an extra six months, but only extends the time you have to file. Payment is due April 15, no matter what. The IRS does allow payments to be made online.

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