Editorial: April 15 just around the corner

Apr. 11, 2013 @ 02:38 PM

We’re hopeful everyone in the Tri-County is going to be out and about this weekend, dodging pollen and soaking up sun-filled skies with pleasant temperatures.

Not everyone will be. Some have waited and waited, and now that Monday’s April 15 tax filing deadline is ahead, will spend the next couple of days hunkered down.

Filing at the deadline isn’t a problem, but be careful. The IRS estimates that most mistakes come from tax forms that are filed in the final hours.

More than 270,000 North Carolinians are likely to file extensions, avoiding late filing penalties and requesting more time to complete the forms. Extension requests do not require reasons or excuses, but April 15 is the date it has to be made.

For an extra six months federally, file Form 4868. It doesn’t give more time to pay, but it does escape the late filing penalty. Free electronic extensions are available online at IRS.gov.

Should filers know they owe but can’t pay in full, don’t wait. File on time to avoid the filing penalty, and pay as much as possible to reduce the payment penalty and interest charges.

The IRS does set up payment plans. If the amount owed is less than $50,000, applications are available online at IRS.gov. Fees range from none to reduced, depending on variables.

If owing taxes, there is still an advantage to filing electronically. Mistakes can be reduced, and confirmation the IRS got has the return is another. Most can file without cost. There’s also the ability to file today or through the weekend and then authorize payment for Monday.

The type and amount of income received in 2012 determines who needs to file. Even if not required to file, there could be incentive to claim a refund of taxes withheld or claim an Earned Income Tax Credit. The Interactive Tax Assistant at IRS.gov can assist.

Community sites staffed by IRS-certified volunteers can be found by calling toll free (800) 906-9887 to find a nearby site. It is also possible to use a filing option yourself at irs.gov.

Taxes help keep the country and our state operating. Everyone should do their part, and we hope there’s no hard part involved.