Scott: Thank you for joining us today. I’m Scott Tinel with DCC Financial Freedom Community. Today, I’m here with Thomas Abblett, CPA from Boca Raton, Florida. Hi Tom.
Thomas: Hi Scott.
Scott: Thank you for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
Thomas: No problem.
Scott: Excellent. What happens for people that file their tax returns late?
Thomas: It all depends if they owe or if they’re getting a refund. If they’re getting a refund, there’s really no downside to it, except for the fact that you didn’t get your money as soon as you should have is the thing. If somebody owes money and they file late … First, you have the option of filing for an extension of time to file, but not to pay your taxes.
If you can’t get the return prepared by April 15th for some reason, then you file for an extension request. It’s an automatic extension for six months. It’ll allow you to file anywhere up until October 15th. However, it’s not an extension of time to pay. If you do owe money, you do need to pay that with the extension request by April 15th.
If you don’t request an extension and you file late, then you have late filing penalties and they can be excessive. They can be anywhere up to 5% of the outstanding balance per month up to a maximum of 25%. Therefore, do not file late. File that extension if you need to and then pay the money in by April 15th. If you can’t do that, in one of our other segments we discussed about getting installment agreements and things like that. Watch our other segments to get that advice is the thing.
Filing late isn’t as bad as you might think. The other thing that people do ask me is well, if I file late or after April 15th, am I more subject to being audited on my return? In the statistics that the IRS has put out for prior years, there is virtually no difference between people that get audited if they filed prior to April 15th or after April 15th. Don’t keep that in mind or think I’m going to beat the audit if I file early or if I’m more likely to get audited if I file late.
Just make sure you file on time. If you can’t, file an extension and then file on time by October 15th.
Scott: Excellent, good advice.
Thomas: Thank you.
Scott: One final question. You mentioned if someone was getting money back, but if they filed late, does the IRS still assess a late fee that they take out of the refund or they just wash their hands of it?
Thomas: There’s no penalty. The penalties are only assessed on balances due, so if you are due money back, there is no penalty for filing late. It’s not necessarily advisable because they do keep records of people that file late is the thing. In the future if you happen to file late by mistake, they’re less likely then to possibly waive that penalty down the road if you need it at that time. Again, file on time or file the extension.
Scott: Excellent, very good. Well, that’s our time for today. Once again, I’m Scott Tinel with DCC Financial Freedom Community, here with Thomas A. Abblett, CPA from Boca Raton, Florida. Thank you for joining us. Have a great day.
Thomas: Thank you.