So, it’s “Tax Day” and you are still rifling through your tax documents form last year. The baby is crying. Your spouse is irritated that the papers are still strewn all over the kitchen table. They haven’t been able to eat at that table for weeks since you last poured all your papers out on it. Still nothing has been done.
Oh, did we say that it’s “Tax Day” today?
You are really, really late. In fact, your accountant hasn’t even heard from or seen you since last year.
You are hours away from missing the deadline to send your tax return to the IRS. Your family is sick of seeing a pile of unorganized receipts and statements gathering dust on the kitchen table. And, finally, your accountant is looking up your name in the local paper obits to see if you’re still around.
You’re late to file. All seems lost. Will you ever recover from this incredible example of “Tax Filing Procrastination”?
Actually, all is not lost and, yes, you can recover. However, you need to act now. Here are Five Ways to Do Your Tax Preparation and Filing after you have passed the Tax Day deadline:
- Don’t panic: Losing your cool and bashing your head against the wall only compounds the mistake. Admit to yourself and everyone in your household that you are late this year filing your/their tax returns. There may have been circumstances that caused it (i.e. illness, surgery, family tragedy, etc.) or you may have just been flat-out neglectful. Whatever the cause, admit to it and then calmly get your tax filing plans in place.
- Organize your documents: You cannot file accurately if you don’t have all of your previous tax year papers organized. Now is the time to staple them all together or photograph them and store them on a flash drive. Clear the kitchen table and place all these documents in a hard file folder and/or electronic file.
- Contact the IRS: This is the scariest step to do, we know. However, the Internal Revenue Service has customer service people on call 24/7/365 to assist you with your questions to help you with your income tax preparation. Give them your contact information so they can note that you will be filing late.
- Request a Tax File Extension: Filing an extension pushes the due date for your tax returns up giving you time to get it completed. Just keep in mind that and extension for you to complete your income tax preparation protects you from likely possible late-filing penalties. Those penalties can be five percent (5%) of the amount due with your return for each month that you’re late.
- Consult with your licensed bookkeeper/accountant: Your accountant can be your best friend during these high-stress times. You may believe you’re the only client who has ever done this, but we can assure you, we have seen it all! So, get your documents in order and bring or send them to us. We recommend that you set up an appointment with your trusted accountant to help you with tax preparation,tax filing and, most importantly, communications with the IRS. You need to make sure all of your communications with the IRS are documented and your accountant will do that for you. We are your advocate.
So, as you can see, procrastination in filing your tax returns is not the end of life as we know it. You do have a “second chance.” Just get moving now and try not to let it happen in the future. (While this blog may be helpful, we also advise that you read the IRS specific instructions if you are filing late.)
If you need help with late tax preparation and tax filing, contact our A.K. Burton, PC offices in Bethesda, Maryland. Our experienced and licensed tax lawyers and accountants can answer all your questions and also assist you with your communications with the IRS. We serve clients in the Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Maryland and Northern Virginia region.