All around the country, there are people in an absolute panic because the real tax deadline for personal tax return extension filers is approaching and they are running out of time. A few blogs ago, we talked about how to possibly deal with not being ready for the corporate deadline on September 15th. We don’t have an amusing anecdote for the October 15th deadline like we did for the corporate deadline. The deadline is the deadline.
The exception would be for those who have been affected by flooding or other natural disasters and may be given an extended deadline by the IRS. Those people may now have until December 31st to file but would need to check the IRS website to see if they are in an affected area recognized by the IRS and would be covered by the exception. For the rest of us extension filers, there are some choices that many who don’t think they are prepared need to make quickly. The deadline is just a few weeks away. You’re not ready. What do you do?
The answer is, you get ready.
If the reason you’re not ready is that essential documents are destroyed or missing, you’re in the middle of a divorce, or something is going on that you just don’t feel you have all the information you need to file, then I would call the IRS and ask them what to do next. I would go on the record with an IRS agent. I would record that conversation. I would collect their badge and ID number, and I would ask for their response to be sent to you by e-mail. No matter what anyone says to you, even the IRS makes mistakes and could lose the documentation that your conversation took place.
Unfortunately, you could get two different answers from two different IRS agents about the same topic. They’re people too, and it is not necessarily a black and white area of the code, even though they may sound like it is. Just make sure you document who you talk to and have proof of what they said. Next, get it in gear, whatever you have going on. Even take a sick day from work if needed. The penalties for not filing on time or not filing altogether are usually greater than whatever time spent or financial inconvenience it may cause you. Everyone has to have deadlines for certain things. This one is yours. Get it done. If you’re planning on walking into a tax office and dropping a box of receipts on them, don’t do it the day before the deadline. Do it this week, because they will need to create books from scratch and have time to ask you for additional documents if needed. You’ll need to have time to call mortgage companies, financial planning institutions, etc., and ask for copies of those documents. You’ll need a few days for those documents to arrive, even if by e-mail, but many will only mail you such documents because they can’t e-mail something with your Social Security number on it.
So, if you’re planning on a last-minute document dump on the tax preparation firm, naughty on you, but do the dump before October 15th. If not, the job is not likely to get done correctly. So, look at the calendar. If you don’t think you can get it done in time, call the IRS, ask them what to do next, and document, document, document; what, when, where, and who told you to do what. You are running out of time!