Only you’re not late… Slow down! You’ve got a minute to spare.
Despite the hype in the press, you’re not a “late filer” if you still haven’t filed your federal income taxes. The official due date is April 15 – that’s tomorrow. Your return must be postmarked no later than April 15. You can use the US Post Office’s handy web site to find out more information about hours of operation and locations.
If you’d prefer to use a private delivery service, certain services have been designated by the IRS to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing/paying” rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following:
- DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service, DHL Next Day 10:30 am, DHL Next Day 12:00 pm, DHL Next Day 3:00 pm, and DHL 2nd Day Service.
- Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.
- United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.
Contact each delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date. You can click on the links to the services above for customer service information.
If you need an extension, you can get a six month extension by filing a federal form 4868 (download the paper form here as a pdf). Remember that the form extends the time to file but not the time to pay – you may need to send a payment in with your extension if you owe. You can send a check or money order payable to “United States Treasury” (mailing list is on the form) or pay by EFT or credit card. To pay by credit card (there is a convenience fee which, sorry folks, is not deductible), use an approved vendor:
- Official Payments Corporation (1-800-2PAY-TAX or www.officialpayments.com); or
- Link2Gov Corporation (1-888-PAY-1040 or www.pay1040.com).
If you are a US citizen or resident alien, you may qualify for an automatic extension of time to file without filing a form 4868. You qualify if, on the due date of your return, you live outside the US and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside the US and Puerto Rico OR you are in military or naval service on duty outside the US and Puerto Rico. If you meet either of those criteria, you will be given an extra 2 months to file and pay the tax but interest will be charged from the original due date of the return on any unpaid tax. To show the IRS that you qualify, attach a statement to your return showing that you meet the requirements.
You may qualify for free e-file extensions. Check out the IRS web site for more information.
Finally, don’t rule out services like FileLater which will do your filing for you for a fee. If you’re pressed for time, you can give them a whirl.
Don’t be embarrassed, sad or anxious about applying for an extension. You have lots of options and you’re definitely not alone. I filed for an extension this year so that I could have time to get my paperwork together (our corporate returns usually mean a delay with our personal returns). As I’ve said before, I prefer extending a return to amending one.
So take a deep breath and relax. Tax Day is just another day!