Tax Filing Deadlines and Extensions

By Michael Aston, E.A.
Alhambra Tax Center

We have imbedded into our thoughts that April 15th is the deadline-date for filing our tax returns. However, if the 15th falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the date is extended to the next business day. An example would be if the 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday; the deadline to file would be extended to Monday.

This year, the deadline-date falls on a Friday. But here’s where it becomes interesting:

“The term ‘legal holiday’ includes a legal holiday observed in the District of Columbia….Emancipation Day, April 16, is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia [D.C. Code § 28-2701 (2010)]. When April 16 is a Saturday, the preceding day is the observed holiday.”

The IRS and California is honoring DC’s Emancipation Day. And has extended the filing date to the next business day (Monday, April 18th).

To make matters a little more complicated:

Monday, April 18th is “Patriots Day,” and is a State Holiday in Massachusetts and Maine. Of which, has extended their State income tax return filing date to Tuesday, April 19th. But for some reason the IRS doesn’t want to recognize “Patriots Day” and extend their filing date to Tuesday.

So…let’s stick to California where individual filers must have their returns postmarked (or electronically filed) by midnight, April 18th. If you need more time to file, there’s the almighty “Extension.”

Extensions allow people more time to file their income tax returns and are (also) due by April 18th.

One of the most common misunderstandings we have experienced is taxpayers believing that when an extension is filed, there’s an automatic extension of any taxes that are due. This is INCORRECT.

IRS Form 4868 implies an extension should only be used to allow the taxpayer additional time to gather their paperwork. AND, any taxes that are due must be paid by the filing date.

“Although you are not required to make a payment of the tax you estimate as due, Form 4868 does not extend the time to pay taxes. If you do not pay the amount due by the regular due date, you will owe interest. You may also be charged penalties.  Any remittance you make with your application for extension will be treated as a payment of tax. You do not have to explain why you are asking for the extension. We will contact you only if your request is denied. Do not file Form 4868 if you want the IRS to figure your tax or you are under a court order to file your return by the regular due date.” 

But here’s where the IRS contradicts their intent when it comes to the creation of the extension; if I knew what I owed in taxes I wouldn’t need an extension, would I? (I recommend you never try to get an explanation from the IRS about this contradiction. I tried once, and ended-up having a headache for weeks.)

If a taxpayer owes money, they should file their return and consult with their tax-consultant.  The IRS and FTB has payment options and is willing to work with you. 

Year 2012 Income Tax returns:

If you haven’t filed your year 2012 income tax return and you owe money, the probability is great that you (already) received a notice of tax due. However, if you’re owed a refund, they’ll never let you know and hope you let the statute expire.

The statute of limitations for receiving the IRS 2012 tax refund is April 18th. The IRS has stated there is $950 million in unclaimed refunds.

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