IRS Answers Common Questions for Last-minute Alabama Filers
With just days to go before the tax
filing deadline, the IRS reminded Alabama taxpayers to file either a tax return
or an extension request by April 15.
The IRS estimates that
more than 127,000 Alabamians will file extensions to avoid the late filing
penalty and request more time to complete their tax forms. An extension request
requires no reason or excuse but has to be filed by April 15.
The IRS offered answers to questions
often asked by those who have waited until now to file.
1. How can I get an extension? You'll
need to complete and file Form 4868 no later than April 15 to get an extra six
months to file. Remember that filing an extension doesn't give you more time to
pay taxes due, it gives you more time to complete your tax return. And it
allows you to avoid the late filing penalty. IRS offers free electronic
extensions through the Free File program at IRS.gov.
2. If I owe taxes and can't pay
the full amount, should I wait to file until I can pay in full? No. If you
wait past April 15, you'll be charged a late filing penalty based on the amount
you owe. Avoid that penalty by filing either your tax return or an extension
form by April 15. Pay as much as you can with the return or extension to help
reduce late the payment penalty and interest charges.
3. Can I set up a payment plan
with the IRS? Yes. The IRS offers short-term extensions of time to pay up
to 120 days, monthly payment plans, and other types of agreements. If you owe
less than $50,000, you can apply online at IRS.gov using the Online Payment
Agreement (OPA) application. There is no fee for the short-term agreement, and
the fee for a monthly agreement is reduced if you agree to bank draft payments.
4. If I owe taxes, is there any
reason for me to e-file? Yes. First, last-minute filers usually make the
most mistakes, and using tax software and e-filing can greatly reduce errors.
Second, e-filing offers confirmation that the IRS got your return. Plus
e-filing is free for most filers through the IRS Free File program. If you're
wanting to hold your payment until the last minute, you can go ahead and e-file
now and authorize a payment for April 15.
5. How do I know if I even need
to file? Your requirement to file depends on the type and amount of income
you received in 2012. Your age and filing status also matter. Remember, too,
that even if you're not legally required to file, you may want to file in order
to claim a refund of taxes withheld or to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, a
credit for low- to middle-income workers. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant at
IRS.gov to help determine if you should file or not.
6. Where can I get help filing? Filing
help is still available at many free community help sites staffed by
IRS-certified volunteers. Filers whose household income was less than $51,000
or who are age 60 or older usually qualify for help at these sites. Call
1-800-906-9887 to find the hours and location of the closest help site.
Do-it-yourself filers can visit www.irs.gov and use
one of the IRS Free File options to prepare and file their own taxes.