Your April 15 to-do list.

April 15th, 2013 by Joe Kristan

20130415-1Today is the day that Congress in its infinite wisdom has designated as the filing deadline for individual tax filers.  It is also the filing deadline for partnerships and trusts.  Let’s go through our list for today:

– File or extend your 1040, 1041 and 1065 forms.  You can extend a 1040 with Form 4868; the trust and partnership filings are extended with  Form 7004.

– Pay your balance due, or that portion you can pay.

– Fund your 2012 IRA contribution.

– If you are a day trader, consider the Sec. 475(f) election to treat your losses as ordinary for 2013.

One of the most important things you can do today is to document your filing.  If you e-file, it’s easy – you can get an electronic acceptance of your filing from the IRS computers.  And you don’t have to worry about your return going astray on the way to the IRS service center.

If you are a paper-return holdout, it’s worth a trip to the post office, while there still is such a thing, to send your return or extension “certified mail, return receipt requested.”  The IRS has to live by the “mailbox rule” – if it is postmarked today, it is considered filed today.  Getting the date-stamped mailing receipt from the post office is your proof that you sent the thing, and getting the return receipt proves they got it.  It helps if you can write the certified mail number across the top of the return or extension as extra proof.  If filing on time is at all important, the extra $4.30 is cheap insurance.

If you are still working on your return after the post office closes, you can use a designated private delivery service to prove timely filing.  If you do, make sure you use one of the services specified by the IRS, or they won’t consider your return filed until received.  Also be sure to use the street address of the service center, as the the private delivery services can’t use the post office box addresses.

Why is this important?

– If you owe money, filing even one day late triggers a penalty of 5% of the balance due.

– If you are filing a 1065 or 1041, filing one day late triggers a penalty of $190 per K-1 on the ruturn.

– Any elections that must be made on a timely-filde return are invalid if the return is late.  For example, if you are filing the day-trader election, filing a day late means the election is invalid for 2013.  The stakes on that can be huge.

Thanks for following our 2013 filing season tips!



Tags: , ,