It’s no secret that tax returns are due on Monday, April 15th for most individuals and businesses. We wanted to provide a couple of pieces of advice for you.
We know most people don’t file paper returns, but there are some who still do. For mailed returns, the April 15th tax deadline doesn’t refer to when your tax return is received; it refers to the date the tax return is postmarked. If you use US Mail to send your return on April 15th and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) receives it after that date, you’re still considered to have filed on time. The key is ensuring you have your returns to the local Post Office on or before 11:59pm on April 15th. In general the Post Office maintains a regular schedule on Tax Day, with most Post Office locations opening between 8:00am and 8:30am, and closing between 5:00pm and 6:00pm. Every location is different, and some will stay open later on Tax Day, but don’t assume that’s the case. You can check the hours of your local Post Office at USPS.com. This site provides general office hours, along with phone numbers so you can call your local Post Office to confirm hours the site is open. If you go to the Post Office later in the day, be prepared to wait in line, because you won’t be alone. Last but not least, make sure you use the correct IRS address to send your return to, and you must include enough postage based on the weight of your mailing.
According to some reports, over the past four years over 91% of Americans electronically filed their tax returns, and that trend continues to grow. The advantages to e-filing include it being easier, more convenience, and faster. Many tax preparation software packages can help taxpayers avoid mistakes by doing the math for you, which means your return will be more accurate. E-filing is secure, meeting strict security guidelines to protect the taxpayer. Most e-filers get their tax returns faster, as there isn’t anything to mail and the software has most likely ensured there are no mistakes. Finally, taxpayers who e-file before the April 15th deadline can set up payment options if they owe taxes. Taxpayers who owe taxes must e-file their returns by 11:59pm on April 15th to avoid penalties. Individuals can find more information about e-filing here on the IRS website. Tax Professionals can find information here; the IRS also offers an e-help desk for Tax Professionals.
Using Software for Completion
Whether you are a paid Tax Professional preparing tax returns for others, or an individual completing your own returns, our most important piece of advice for you is, don’t wait until late in the day on April 15th to print, mail, or submit e-filed returns. While e-filing simplifies the process for Tax Professional and taxpayers alike, keep in mind you might run into challenges. Complications can within the software you use, submission issues, internet connectivity, system outages, and unexpected e-file rejections by the IRS. The last thing you want to do is lose control of the situation by waiting until the last minute to file.
In a letter written in 1789, Ben Franklin said, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has the appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We know the IRS waits for no one. That is especially true on April 15th. Don’t wait until the last minute – submit your returns now!