Benefits of Filing a Tax Extension


Tax returns are usually due April 15, but this year you'll get an extra two days, until April 17th. Those extra few extra days might help, but they may not matter to many. Instead of rushing to file your taxes, you can go on an automatic six-month extension. You need to pay what you owe even if you go on extension. The extension is to file your return, not to pay. Some people fine tune their payment, while others do only a rough estimate. Just remember that if you owe more when you later file your return, you'll have to settle up then. But even though you have to pay now, there can be good reasons to take the extension.

If you do succumb to the allure of an extra six months, it is wroth considering whether you increase your odds of audit or decrease them. Few deadlines are more dreaded than the annual rush to April 15th (well, 17th this year). You may not want to delay it. You may even feel guilty if you take advantage of an automatic six-month reprieve. There’s no shame in an extension, and millions are processed every year. Everyone can get six extra months by filing (electronically or by mail) a tiny form that doesn’t even require a signature.

Here are some reasons to consider an extension. Going on extension encourages reflection. Use the time to gather records, consider reporting alternatives, and get professional advice. Remember, tax returns are filed under penalties of perjury. File accurately so you don’t have to amend later. Amended returns often come about because people rush. Although there are times you may want or need to amend, use amended returns sparingly. Amended returns are much more likely to be scrutinized. File once correctly, so you don’t have to do it again.

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