April 15 was the tax filing deadline for most federal and state taxpayers.
Note the word "most."
On the federal level, U.S. citizens living abroad or who are in the military and stationed outside the country get an automatic two-month extension to file their federal returns and pay any amount due without requesting an extension. The Internal Revenue Service considers these folks' 1040s as timely filed if they are sent by June 15.
And while most of the states and Washington, D.C., that collect income tax returns from their residents do follow the federal April 15 due date, five set their own filing deadlines.The states and their separate state tax return due dates are:
- Hawaii, April 20
- Delaware, April 30
- Iowa, April 30
- Virginia, May 1
- Louisiana, May 15
Those five states and their filing independence also represent this week's By the Numbers figure.
Special, tragic circumstances: This year, a state holiday pushed the filing due date back a day for residents in two New England states.
In Massachusetts and Maine, April 15 was Patriots Day, a legal holiday in both states. For nonresidents (and folks who didn't pay attention in American history class), the holiday commemorates the Revolutionary War's first battles on April 19, 1775, at Lexington, Mass., and Concord, Maine.
Patriots Day falling on April 15 meant that while Maine and Massachusetts taxpayers still had to get their federal returns to the IRS yesterday, they got an extra day -- through today, April 16 -- to file their state forms.
IRS and Massachusetts Department of Revenue officials, however, have announced that in light of the Boston Marathon bombings, Boston-area taxpayers will be allowed more time to finish their federal and state tax returns without worrying about tax penalties. Both agencies promise that as details are finalized the information will be posted on their websites.
UPDATE: Late Tuesday, April 16, afternoon, the IRS announced that Boston-area taxpayers have until July 15 to file and pay any federal taxes due.
Technical glitches and weather woes: Today, April 16, also is the new due date for Pennsylvania taxpayers who ran into problems with the state's online filing system during the April 15 filing crunch.
An announcement by Pennsylvania's Department of Revenue notes that:
"Due to technical issues that prohibited residents from accessing commonwealth websites including the Department of Revenue website and tax filing resources for a few hours earlier today [April 15], Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser announced the department will not impose penalties or interest on personal income tax returns filed on or before Tuesday, April 16."
And bad weather that prevented some taxpayers from filing their federal returns is a good enough excuse for the IRS.
The agency announced on April 15 that it will:
"... provide penalty relief to anyone unable to file on time due to severe storms in parts of the South and Midwest over the past few days. Power outages and transportation problems are, in some cases, making it very difficult or impossible for some taxpayers and tax professionals to meet the regular April 15 filing deadline. As a result, taxpayers directly impacted by these storms will qualify for penalty relief, based on reasonable cause, if, due to these storms, they are unable to file their returns or pay tax due until after tonight's [April 15] midnight deadline."
The IRS cannot, by law, abate interest charges, but the decision to waive penalties should help. This relief applies to the late-filing penalty, normally 5 percent per month, and the late-payment penalty, normally 0.5 percent per month.
If you get a penalty notice from the IRS, let the agency know (via the contact information on the form) of your storm-affected situation and it will handle the relief grants on a case-by-case basis.
Folks in storm-ravaged areas also should check with their state and local tax offices for any additional tax relief at those governmental levels.
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