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Nobody likes being nagged, but I’m going to risk reader displeasure by reminding everyone that there are hefty financial consequences if you owe income taxes and do not file a return on time – or at least request a filing extension.
Ordinarily, the federal income tax deadline is April 15; but this year the IRS has granted a reprieve until April 18. Nevertheless, here’s why procrastinating is a bad idea:
If your 2010 federal tax return (or extension request) isn’t postmarked or electronically filed by April 18, the penalty on any taxes you owe increases dramatically. Generally, you’ll have to pay an additional 5 percent for each full or partial month you’re late, plus interest, up to a maximum penalty of 25 percent. However, if you file your return or request an extension on time, the penalty drops to 0.5 percent per month, plus interest.
Here’s how it can add up: Say you owe $2,000 in federal income tax. If you haven’t requested an extension, you would be charged an additional $100 (5 percent) for each month you’re late. Had you filed for an extension, the penalty would drop to only $10 a month (0.5 percent).
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