Five Common Reasons for Late Tax Filing (and Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

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“The dog ate my homework” is a time-honored (although probably not very effective) excuse for not turning in school work on time. The excuses that taxpayers use for missing the mid-April deadline for filing taxes are often just as lame.

“I ran out of time.”

You usually have at least three months to work on your taxes yourself or take all your tax information to a tax preparer to get help. The problem is, most of us hate the paperwork and postpone the task for as long as possible.

But there is help for procrastinators. The IRS does allow you to file for an extension on filing your tax forms. You can file online for this extension for free. But you will have to pay any taxes you owe by the April filing date.

“I forgot.”

Between work, school and/or family commitments, it’s not really that difficult to forget that you’ve got a tax form waiting for your attention. But there’s an easy solution for this. Starting in January, set a weekly reminder on your cell phone that you need to get started. If it’s mid-March, bump that up to daily alarms. Eventually you’ll get so sick of these constant nags that you’ll probably just buckle down and tackle your taxes.

“I know I’m going to owe money, but I can’t pay right now.”

Postponing your tax filing isn’t going to make the problem any better; in fact, you’re going to make a bad situation worse. Even if you don’t have the funds to pay up front and will end up paying interest to the IRS on what you owe, you can avoid paying substantial penalties for late filing if you at least get your return in by the tax deadline.

“I lost my tax forms.”

The IRS has all the tax forms that you require available for download on its website. Don’t have a computer? Public libraries and post offices often carry copies of the most requested forms. If all else fails, you can call the IRS and request that they mail the right forms to you.

“I was sick. A family member was sick. I had a death in the family.”

The IRS might actually accept such excuses if you or a close family member was in the hospital during tax preparation season and unable to meet the tax deadline. The same applies if you lose a close family member, or if your records were destroyed in some kind of natural disaster. You will have to prove to the IRS’ satisfaction that you had legitimate reasons for your failure to file.

If you’ve filed late, cannot pay, or just aren’t sure what to do about your late IRS filing, get in touch now, we can help! As always we can be reached at 720-398-6088.