Each year, it is required that every working individual file their federal taxes by April 15. Occasionally, the due date for returns will fall on a weekend or holiday, in which case the due date is pushed back to the next business day.
Although no one really looks forward to paying taxes, it really is best to go ahead and file those returns in a timely manner. Certainly, you wouldn’t want to skip filing at all as this is considered a serious crime.
However, if there is a reason that you are unable to file by the appointed deadline, you may file for an extension. Keep in mind that if you owe money to the government and you file for an extension, interest will be added to the past-due tax. Also, there could be a late penalty.
It is possible to fill out an Application of Automatic Extension of Time to File, or a Form 4868, which will automatically allow half a year extension. There are also exceptions, such as military on duty overseas, which are automatically given an extension of 2 months.
In this event, the deadline for filing is June 15. Publication 54 goes into greater detail about the appropriate circumstances surrounding this automatic extension.
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Filing a 1040 Form
Most often, a 1040 is to be filed. In the event that this is the case, any forms that correspond with the 1040 need to be attached to the back of the form in order. Common forms and schedules that may be used can be found online. Also make certain to include a copy of any of the following which are applicable:
- W-2 forms
- Form 2439
- 1099-R forms
Free File: A Viable Option
There are many free tax software options now available online that allow Americans to file their taxes, even if they’re complicated, on their own at home. Although some of these tools are free for those filing a 1040EZ, they can get a little pricey for folks who have more complicated returns.
However, the IRS offers a completely free federal filing service for those who make less than $58,000 per year as a household. Those who make more than this may still use the free forms available. The software options used are the same ones that are often purchased, but work in partnership with the federal government for those with lower incomes.
It should also be noted that many of the tax software companies that are partnering with the federal government may offer services that allow you to file your state tax returns at the same time.
Once your tax information has been filled in, you may choose to use e-file as your method of filing your returns. This is a very safe and secure option that often provides those who are receiving tax refunds with their money far sooner than those who file by mail.
While the federal government does indeed offer many tax services to help people with a lower income bracket file their taxes for free, it is important to be wary of sites that claim to be IRS affiliated. Unless the web address ends in .gov, you can rest assured that the website in question is not a part of the IRS.
Never give out information to these kinds of sites, as you may become the victim of identity theft. This warning does not refer to tax software companies but to websites that claim affiliation with the Internal Revenue Service.
Filing your taxes has never been easier. Get prepared to have all of those documents filled out by April 15, or file for a tax extension if you can’t file on time. If you file your tax return online, you have the added benefit of receiving not only the easiest filing experience ever but you are also guaranteed to receive your largest tax refund ever too.