If you missed this year's doubly extended tax filing deadline simply because you procrastinated, or actually over-procrastinated, then you're out of luck. If you owe tax for the 2017 tax year, interest and penalties already are piling up.
If this is you — no judging here, just some advice — at least get a belated extension request into the Internal Revenue Service ASAP, along with the money you owe, to stop that costly process from getting worse. The first Weekly Tax Tip of 2018 offers some guidance on moves to make if your missed the Tax Day deadline.
Other taxpayers, however, weren't worried about this week's filing deadline because they were dealing with some special circumstances.
Unfortunately, a couple of these situations are not ones folks typically want to face, such as coping with a natural disaster's fallout or being in the literal line of fire as a member of the military. But at least the IRS isn't piling on by demanding your tax returns. Yet.
Even these folks eventually have to file, but they get more time.
Here's the scoop for folks in three special cases on what to do and when to do it to fulfill your 2017 tax year filing obligations.
1. Victims of natural disasters
Southern California taxpayers who were faced the calamity caused by Golden State wildfires and subsequent flooding and mud and debris flows have until April 30 to file and pay any due taxes.
This extended tax deadline also provides additional time for affected Californians to make a 2017 IRA contribution, submit estimated tax payments and file payroll and excise tax returns and corporate income tax returns originally due or on extension during the relief period.
The April 30 deadline also applies to tax-exempt organizations that are required to file Form 990 series returns that had a deadline falling during this period.
On the other side of the country, filers who endured Hurricane Maria, which devastated portions of mainland United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, have until June 29 to file your 2017 tax return and pay any taxes due.
The June 29 due date also applies to taxpayers who are victims of Tropical Storm Gita in American Samoa.
To find out whether you're in the affected major disaster areas and eligible for the extended tax deadlines, check out the IRS' online Around the Nation page, which has the latest state-by-state IRS news, including special disaster relief provisions.
2. Combat zone taxpayers
U.S. military service members and eligible support personnel serving in a combat zone have at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file their tax returns and pay any taxes due.
This includes those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones. A complete list of designated combat zone localities can be found in IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide.
Combat zone extensions give affected taxpayers more time for a variety of other tax-related actions, including contributing to an IRA. Various circumstances affect the exact length of the extension available to any given taxpayer. You can find details, including examples illustrating how these extensions are calculated, in the Extensions of Deadlines section of Publication 3.
In a related military tax matter, the IRS on April 13 announced that Armed Forces members who served in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt may qualify for combat zone tax benefits retroactive to June 2015. Among other benefits available under this designation is the exclusion of part or all of combat pay from income for federal income tax purposes. Service members who previously paid tax on this income may be due a refund, which they can claim by filing an amended tax return.
3. Taxpayers outside the United States
Every year, regardless of what actual day the April deadline falls on, U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico have two more months to take care of their annual filing tasks.
The deadline for expatriates to file returns and pay any due tax for the prior tax year is June 15.
The automatic June 15 deadline also applies to members of the military on duty outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico, who do not qualify for the longer combat zone extension.
If any of these out-of-country situations applies, simply attach a statement to your return when you do file by June 15 explaining which one led to your seemingly late filing. This will prevent the IRS from assessing late-filing penalties.
However, the IRS notes that while these non-U.S.-based folks are granted more time to file their 1040s, the April due date still applies to any tax they owe.
In these cases, interest, currently at the rate of five percent per year and compounded daily, applies to any payment that wasn't made by April 18. If this is you, try to pay as much of your owed 2017 tax bill as soon as possible instead of waiting until the mid-June filing deadline. That will reduce your interest charges.
You can find more information about the special tax rules for U.S. taxpayers abroad in IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.
You also might find these items of interest:
- California, U.S. territory taxpayers get disaster tax relief
- Inflation tweaks offer U.S. workers abroad some tax relief
- Combat-injured vets due refunds of wrongly collected taxes