Thursday, May 24, 2018
Business

Here's what to do if you can't get your taxes done on time

What if you can't get your federal income taxes done on time?

You can file for an automatic, six-month extension on your federal return — no explanation is necessary. Just fill out Form 4868 and file it by midnight Tuesday. Then you will have until Oct. 15 to complete your return and file it.

The Internal Revenue Service expects to receive more than 12 million extension forms this tax season. A common reason for filing an extension, said Rebecca Pavese, a certified public accountant, might be that you lack all the documents necessary to complete your return.

Some people, however, seek extensions simply because of procrastination, said Jeffrey A. Porter, CPA.

Filing for an extension means you won't have to pay a hefty late-filing penalty (typically 5 percent of any unpaid balance each month, up to 25 percent of the total).

However, it's important to note that filing for an extension does not give you more time to pay your taxes, if you owe them. You should make your best estimate of what you owe, and pay it by the deadline. Otherwise, you will owe late payment penalties and interest. There's no late-filing penalty if you are owed a refund.

Andrew M. Porter, CPA, suggests that you estimate what you owe as best you can, then add a cushion — say, 5 percent — to avoid an underpayment penalty. The goal is to pay at least 90 percent of what you owe by the due date. If you overpaid, you will get the extra money back when you file your return.

Since penalties for filing late without an extension are generally greater than those for paying late, there is really no good reason not to file for an extension, he said: "Always file an extension, even if you can't pay."

Here are some additional questions about filing and paying taxes:

What if I miss the filing deadline and haven't filed for an extension?

File your return as soon as possible. Then, when you receive a penalty notice, you should contact the IRS and explain the situation. The agency won't waive interest, but it may waive penalties, if you have a good reason for missing the deadline — say, you were in a car accident in March or you were ill and in the hospital.

Does filing for a federal extension mean I automatically get more time to file my state tax return as well?

No.

What if I can't afford to pay the taxes I owe?

The IRS advises you to file your return or an extension and pay what you can to reduce interest and penalties. Then contact the agency to discuss payment options. You may be able to receive a short-term extension to pay, if you expect to have the money you need shortly. Or you may qualify for a longer-term installment plan. If you owe $50,000 or less in combined taxes, penalties and interest, you can apply online; otherwise, you must fill out a more detailed form and mail it in.

If you don't pay, and don't try to work with the IRS, the agency can take more aggressive steps, such as garnishing your wages.

Comments
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

It’s where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.It’s where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the program’s biggest road games.It’s where folks showed up in...
Updated: 2 hours ago
What’s bringing that new $50 million boutique hotel to Ybor City? It’s not just the local history

What’s bringing that new $50 million boutique hotel to Ybor City? It’s not just the local history

TAMPA — The historic charm of Ybor City is only part of the reason developers will break ground today on a $50 million boutique hotel on E Seventh Avenue.Two other key factors are Tampa’s larger business climate and the hospitality market in particul...
Published: 05/24/18
Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Chuck Prather, owner of the Birchwood in St. Petersburg, returned from his daughter’s Maine wedding this week with an exciting announcement of his own. On June 7 the St. Petersburg City Council is expected to sign off on him being on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg-based contract electronics company Jabil announced Wednesday it has expanded in Israel by opening an Optics Technology Innovation Center.The 6,560-square-foot complex is in Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city. "Our Optics Innovation Cen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

OPEN NOW: BAHAMA BUCK’SFeel a shiver? Just in time for Florida’s sultry summer, Bahama Buck’s opened this week in Trinity with an avalanche of sno. The 2,346-square-foot island-inspired shop opened at 8815 Mitchell Blvd. with more than 91 flavors of ...
Published: 05/23/18
Lee Roy Selmon's original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon's original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon’s, the restaurant that paid homage to the community icon who rose to fame as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and grew to become a popular civic leader, will shutter the doors of its original location on Tampa’s Boy Scout Boulevard in...
Published: 05/23/18
At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.As the name suggests, it...
Published: 05/23/18
Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Associated PressPHILADELPHIA — Comcast may make an offer for Twenty-First Century Fox, potentially putting it in a head-to-head bidding war with Disney. Comcast Corp. on Wednesday did not provide specific details on a bid, other than to say that it w...
Published: 05/23/18
Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

ORLANDO — The popular breakfast and brunch chain First Watch will be opening a new restaurant in Orlando that will add cocktails, beer and wine to the menu. The new concept restaurant, set to open on Memorial Day at 1448 N Alafaya Trail, will be 1,00...
Published: 05/23/18
Humana hiring 100 for phone sales, Medicare enrollment assistance

Humana hiring 100 for phone sales, Medicare enrollment assistance

Kentucky-based health care provider Humana is hiring 100 phone sales employees in Tampa Bay. The new hires will field sales calls and offer enrollment assistance for Humana’s Medicare plans and other products.The positions, which are being added to h...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18