Procrastinators have three extra days to tax filing deadline
H&R Block extends office hours to assist nearly one in three who wait until April to file as April 18 deadline nears
The nearly one in three taxpayers who wait until April to file a tax return have a few extra days this year to do so and avoid late-payment and late-filing penalties. Whether taxpayers are looking to come to an office early, later or even later, H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, will offer extended hours in select offices nationwide to assist procrastinators with last-minute tax filing.
The tax filing deadline is April 18 this year, giving taxpayers three extra days to file a return or an extension and pay any tax due before those penalties kick in.
Scheduling quirk extends deadline to April 18
Due to a Washington, D.C. holiday falling on the normal filing deadline of April 15, the tax deadline moves to the next business day, Monday, April 18. Because a state holiday falls on the 18 in Maine and Massachusetts, taxpayers in those states will have until April 19 to file their returns. Taxpayers must file either a completed return or an extension by the 18 and pay at least 90 percent of their tax liability to avoid penalties and interest.
“Taxpayers may have a few extra days this year to file their returns and pay any tax due, but once that deadline passes on Monday, late-payment and late-filing penalties kick in. Procrastinators need to file something by the 18 to avoid adding extra penalties and interest to their bill,” said Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block.
Filing an extension helps but doesn’t exempt procrastinators
The penalty for not filing a tax return is 10 times greater than the penalty for not paying in full. The best way to avoid this penalty, which could add up to 25 percent to their tax bill, is to file a completed tax return or apply for an extension. However, an extension doesn’t apply to any payments due.
“The extension to file is not an extension to pay for those taxpayers who owe the IRS money. Taxpayers must pay at least 90 percent of their 2015 tax bill by April 18 or they will face late-payment penalties and interest,” said Pickering. “Still, filing an extension will save them the larger failure-to-file penalty.”
The penalty for not paying in full is 0.5 percent of the unpaid balance per month with a maximum of 25 percent. The monthly penalty for not filing a tax return is 5 percent and capped at a maximum of 25 percent. For example, for someone who owes $1,000, the failure-to-pay penalty starts at just $5 per month, but the penalty for failing to file a return starts at $50 per month.
Taxpayers who cannot pay have options if they work with the IRS
If a taxpayer can’t pay their balance due all at once, they can request a short-term extension to pay, make an installment agreement or even pay with a credit card. In some instances, the taxpayer may qualify for an offer-in-compromise. By working with the IRS, taxpayers may reduce or eliminate their penalties.
“If they’re having trouble paying their tax bill, taxpayers can save time and money when they are short on both by talking to a tax professional about their options. A tax professional can help them determine the best way to pay their tax bill in their unique situation,” said Pickering.
“It’s in the mail” doesn’t always cut it
Taxpayers filing on paper and mailing their returns need to make sure they get the return in the mail on time. A mailed return must be postmarked by the deadline, but if they aren’t using U.S. postal services, taxpayers need to make sure they use an approved delivery service. Otherwise they could incur late-payment and late-filing penalties even if they send the return on April 18.
For additional help estimating their tax liability, filing an extension or understanding their payment options, taxpayers may contact a local H&R Block tax professional. To find the nearest H&R Block office, visit www.hrblock.com or call 800-HRBLOCK.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, with revenues of $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2015. More than 680 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955, including 24.2 million tax returns in fiscal year 2015. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products. H&R Block also offers adjacent Tax Plus products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom at https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/newsroom.