Hunt for eggs, not tax receipts

The intersection of a holiday weekend and a federal tax deadline may affect the enjoyment of a long weekend. While the official day was moved to April 18, two days after Easter, any extra time off may be filled with last-minute preparation.

While the Internal Revenue Service is serving as a de facto Easter Bunny in giving taxpayers until next Tuesday, options exist to buy more time to file taxes.

An extension requests additional time to prepare and file. Upon receipt of Form 4868 (Form 7004 for businesses), the IRS will automatically move the deadline by six months, specifically October 16. Businesses can also extend submitting their filings to September 15.

The benefits are numerous and include:

  • Reducing penalties for those who currently cannot afford to pay their tax bills. Late filing penalties are five percent per month on the debt plus a late payment penalty of half a percent per month. An extension will help avoid the late filing fee.
  • Preserving tax refunds if the filing occurs after the extended deadline. With an extension, taxpayers have three years from the original filing date to still receive a refund even if they fall behind in submitting their taxes.
  • Providing extra time to secure tax documents that have not yet arrived, organize deduction, and file gift tax returns. Taxpayers will also have additional time to make various elections that may be overlooked in the rush of meeting the April deadline.
  • Improving the accuracy of a tax return. The rush of last-minute preparation often leads to mistakes whether taxpayers, tax preparers, or accountants are filling out the forms.
  • Reducing tax preparation fees after the busy tax season. Tax preparers and accountants usually reduce fees during slower times that occur in spring and summer.

Holidays are for rest, relaxation and time with loved ones. Easter is for chewing the ears off a chocolate bunny, not crunching numbers.