May Do Better To Ask For Extension Than Rush To Beat Tax Deadline

The accounting firm Gainer, Donnelly, and Desroches prepares and files about four thousand tax returns a year.  Miles Harper is a tax partner in the firm's small business group.  He says people who wait until the last minute to start doing their taxes are, naturally, the ones who make the most mistakes.

"The tax software will give you diagnostics.  You don't understand those diagnostics, so they go ahead and try to file an extension.  That's why we don't try to file many returns that we haven't been in preparation of for at least a few days or a week before now so as not to make those mistakes."

Harper says if you have been working on your return for the last week or so, and you're confident that it's complete, accurate, and good to send, then it makes more sense to e-file, rather than print a hard copy and get it postmarked by midnight.

"You get your refund much, much quicker.  You get feedback from the IRS very quickly if they feel like maybe there was an error on the return, so that you can re-do it.  And I think it's a whole lot less problematic than trying to run around and go to the post office and make sure everything gets done today."

But Harper advises keeping a paper copy of your return on file for at least five years.   He reminds taxpayers who request an extension that it only buys you more time to file a return.  All tax must be paid in full, or the best estimate of "in full,"  tonight.

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