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Help! I Missed the Tax Filing Deadline

By Edited Dec 2, 2015 0 0

At the blink of an eye, the tax season has come and gone. While most of us were able to file our personal and small business income tax returns before the deadline, some of us might not. What should you do if you missed the tax filing deadline and did not file for extensions?

Gather all your tax documents
Yes you missed the deadline, but it’s not the end of the world. So don’t panic, but definitely don’t delay. Start by gathering all your documentations, the 1098, 1099, W-2, prior year tax returns, charitable donation receipts, your business profit/loss statements (including the supports: the invoices, the receipts, monthly statements, the bills, etc.), and don’t forget the mileage logs for the vehicle that you use for business purposes. Figure out what documents you might be missing and try to get replacement copies. The sooner you can get gather all the documents you need to prepare your returns the better you are for the next step.

Prepare and file the tax returns
You won’t know for sure if you owe or if you are getting a refund until you actually prepare and file the tax returns. You can either do it yourself if it’s not too complicated, and if so, consider getting a reliable and easy-to-use tax software, like TurboTax. If you don’t feel comfortable and/or afraid of making mistakes, contact a tax professional to help you prepare and file the returns. An experienced tax professional can help you with more complex tax issues and offer advices on how to work with the IRS, and many of them will not charge you for the initial consultation. They can help in figuring out when and how much your refund will be, or help calculate the penalties and interest if you owe tax debt. Some can even offer assistance in setting up monthly installment to pay taxes you owe if you can’t pay the full amount. If you don’t know a tax professional, ask for a recommendation from your peers, friends, and other small business owners.

Pay what you owe
You may discover that you have a refund coming and that is great, but what do you do if you owe taxes and you don’t have the means to pay in full right away? Again, don’t panic, but don’t ignore it either; ignoring the IRS is never the smartest thing to do. There are a few options at your disposal, ranging from using credit card for payments, or installment agreements, or "offers in compromise" to settle your taxes for less than what you owe. It is best to discuss this topic with your tax professional. He/she can assist you in weighing the different options and make recommendations based on your specific situation.

Plan for next year
A little tax planning is never a bad idea. How about planning ahead to make sure you file on-time next time? Maybe you can also look into increasing the amount of next year's refund? Or if you are a small business owner, it is always a good idea to periodically review your estimated tax payments to ensure that you are paying enough. Now is a good opportunity to review your overall tax situation.

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