As I noted yesterday, it’s easy to file a tax extension. However, you still have to figure your taxes and pay the amount due if you want to avoid interest and late fees. But what if you’re expecting a refund? Here’s an interesting tidbit that I ran across yesterday:
If you’re getting a refund this year, you don’t need to stress about filing on-time.
If you’re among the majority of taxpayers who have a refund coming, you can ignore the April 17 deadline with impunity.
You see, the penalty for failing to meet the deadline is a percentage of the tax owed with your return. If you owe zero, the penalty is zero. Of course, you should file as soon as possible to get your money back. But there’s no reason to lose any sleep, miss any tax breaks or risk life and limb rushing to the post office by midnight April 17.
That being said, there is one catch:
If you are making certain, rather arcane elections on your return (like declaring yourself a day trader for tax purposes), you do need to file by the deadline or ask for an extension, even if you have a refund coming. But if you’re like most refund taxpayers, the deadline doesn’t really matter.
As always, don’t tax this as advice — after all, I’m just a guy with a keyboard…