And yeah, I meant to post this reminder a bit sooner. But, hey! All y'all procrastinators know that you wouldn't have paid attention even a week ago! So quit trying to make me feel guilty!
But enough with the finger pointing. Tax time's a-wasting, so here goes with three tasks to complete by Oct. 15.
1. Final filing time: The first tax deadline coming up this Thursday is the one to get your Form 1040 (or other version that fits your filing needs) en route, electronically -- the Free File program is still available -- or by snail mail, to the IRS.
The IRS is expecting around 10 million returns from folks who, back in April, sent in Form 4868 to automatically get six more months to file.
Why do so many folks put off the deed?
I mean, you have to send in at least a pretty good approximation of any tax bill when you request more time to file the forms. So if it wasn't the money, what caused the delay?
In many cases it's pure and simple disorganization. I've been there. And I have, in past years, put off filing because of it.
In other cases, the delay is because filers are waiting for tax documents that were slow to arrive or had to be corrected.
And this year, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that became law on Feb. 17, smack dab in the middle of filing season, some filers needed the extra time so they could claim the first-time homebuyer credit on a home purchase that wasn't finalized until after the April 15 deadline.
But time is now up. Whatever the reason for your tax dallying, make sure you do get your forms into the IRS by Oct. 15. If you don't, it could cost you more.
Even though, as noted earlier, you paid most of your due bill with Form 4868, if you don't get your actual return in now, the IRS can slap you with a penalty for non-payment of any amount still due plus a tougher one for not filing on time.
You can read more about those penalties, and tax payment options if you still owe the IRS any money, in this story.
2. Self-employed retirement time: If you're self-employed and postponed your filing until now, you still have time to sock away some retirement cash.
The typical such plans are Simplified Employee Pensions, usually referred to as SEPs or SEP-IRAs, or Keoghs. And deposits can be make to these accounts for the tax year by your regular tax return due date plus any extensions.
In addition to helping you prepare for your post-work years, putting money into a retirement account provides self-employed filers with an immediate tax break.
Contributions to these accounts are an above-the-line deduction on Form 1040. By reducing your income here, you should end up with a smaller tax bill.
3. Offshore account holders can get off the hook: The third Oct. 15 due date is for folks who have offshore accounts that they haven't told the IRS about.
When this amnesty for these secret tax haven accounts was first established, the tell-all deadline was Sept. 23. But because so many folks apparently want to do the right tax thing and voluntarily disclose their offshore assets, the IRS pushed the deadline to Thursday.
But this week's due date is it, says Uncle Sam. If you don't 'fess up by Thursday, you could face harsh civil penalties and possible criminal prosecution.
The IRS has a special Voluntary Disclosure Web page with details on how to come clean. Or you can call the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Hotline at (215) 516-4777.