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Editorial: Can’t Pay Your Taxes, Now What? By Michael Green

By Michael Green, of Michael L. Green Tax and Financial
Some of you are experiencing a certain amount of joy and accomplishment because April 15 
is just around the corner and you have either filed your tax return or about to file your tax return and able to meet the April 15 tax deadline.


 

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Then there are those of you who either procrastinate about filing and paying your taxes on time because you simply procrastinate. However, some of you are experiencing high anxiety because you can’t pay your taxes on time and figure forestalling filing will buy you some extra needed time.

If you find yourself in the “I haven’t done my taxes” category don’t panic. Tax-filing extensions are available to taxpayers who need more time to finish their returns. Remember, this is an extension of time to file, not an extension of time to pay. However, taxpayers who are having trouble paying what they owe may qualify for payment plans and other relief.

Either way, you will avoid stiff penalties if you file either a regular income tax return or a request for a tax-filing extension by this year’s April 15th deadline. Taxpayers should file, even if they can’t pay the full amount due.

People who haven’t finished filling out their return can get an automatic six-month extension. The fastest and easiest way to get the extra time is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this service to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension on Form 4868.

According to the IRS here are four tips that can help you lower the amount of interest and penalties when you don’t pay the full amount on time.

File on time and pay as much as you can. Filing on time ensures that you will avoid the late filing penalty. Paying as much as you can reduces the late payment penalty and interest charges. If you pay by check, make it payable to the United States Treasury and include it with your return. For electronic payment options, visit IRS.gov.

Consider getting a loan or paying by credit card. The interest and fees charged by a bank or credit card company may be lower than IRS interest and penalties. For credit card options, visit IRS.gov.

Request a payment agreement. You do not need to wait for IRS to send you a bill before requesting a payment plan. You can use the Online Payment Agreement tool at IRS.gov or you can submit an IRS Installment Agreement Form 9465.

Don’t ignore a tax bill. If you get a bill from the IRS, contact them right away to talk about payment options. The IRS may take collection action if you ignore the bill, which will only make things worse.

But remember, it’s always best to file on time, pay as much as you can by the tax deadline and pay the balance as soon as you can. For more information on the IRS collection process go to IRS.gov or contact a tax professional to help you.

Michael Green of Michael L. Green Tax and Financial is an Enrolled Agent and Certified Financial Planner in Valencia. Michael Green can be reached by calling (661) 257-4111.


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