Lessons from the late John Pinette, accountant-turned-comic
Extended tax filing deadlines for certain Colorado, Washington State and Massachusetts taxpayers

Happy Tax Day 2014! Now quit partying and file something!

April 15 is finally here! You can celebrate after you file something.

Tax Day 2014 celebrationAs today's final 2014 filing season Daily Tax Tip points out, you have two choices as to what to send the Internal Revenue Service.

You can finish and file your 2013 tax return. Or you can submit an extension request.

Choose one option or be prepared to pay the IRS more money.

Uncle Sam is serious about getting some sort of official document from you today. He actually has stiffer penalties for not filing than not paying.

So get to work on one or the other.

Timely filing: The IRS considers your return as filed on time as long as, if you snail mail it, it has an April 15 postmark. The postal service's online locator search tool can help you find a post office near you that is staying open late on Tax Day.

If you plan to e-file, you have until midnight your local time to hit the send button.

I wouldn't wait, however, until 11:55 p.m. or later to electronically transmit a return. You know how computers are. Like dogs, they sense our fear and tend to crash at precisely the most inopportune moment.

Get six more months: If you can't file a 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ) either electronically or via the U.S. Postal Service (or authorized private delivery service) in the next few hours, then you need to get Form 4868 en route to the IRS.

This extension request is automatic and will give you six more months (until Oct. 15) to file your paperwork.

Again, Form 4868 has the same April 15 deadline.

You can e-file it. Your tax preparation software will give you that option. Or you can send it in via Free File if your income is $58,000 or less or by Free Fillable Forms if you make more.

And if your state income tax is due today, too, the same filing and extension rules likely apply to that return.

April 15 addenda: Today also is the deadline for other tax tasks, such as making your first 2014 estimated tax payment, contributing money for the 2013 tax year to your IRA (Roth or traditional) or claiming that 2010 tax refund that you forgot to file for three years ago.

If you're determined to get your Form 1040 done today, these 15 tax-filing tips for April 15 could help. Also give it one more good look and make sure you didn't miss one of the items in this 10-point tax return checklist.

Now get to work. And as soon as you're done either filing your taxes or getting an extension, be sure to reward yourself with some of the many Tax Day deals and freebies.


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