Today is it. Extended 2012 1040s are due today. If you are still digging for that last charitable deduction or waiting on that last K-1, give it up. It’s better to file an imperfect return on time than a perfect one late. You only have one day left to file on-time, but you have three years to file an amended return if you need to. As Robert D. Flach reminds us, that’s true even if you owe money but lack the cash to pay up.
If you can, you should e-file. That removes all doubt about whether you have filed on time.
If you are paper-filing, you can prove timely filing by using certified mail, return receipt requested, and getting a postmarked mailing receipt at the post office. Some people scoff, but it works. Just this year a client avoided a nearly $10,000 late filing penalty by saving the Certified Mail receipt.
If you prefer, or if you don’t finish up before the post office closes, you can go to your late night FedEx or UPS Store and use a receipt from a designated private delivery service to document your timely filing. If you use a private delivery service, be sure to send it to the Service Center’s street address, and be sure to use the right product from the delivery service.
Today is not just the deadline for extended 2012 returns. It’s also the last possible day to claim a refund from an extended 2009 return filed at the deadline for that year. The “mailbox rule” — timely-mailed is timely-filed — also applies here, and you’d be foolish to not use certified mail for a last-day refund claim.
It’s also the last day the IRS can assess additional tax for 2009 extended returns. Thanks, shutdown! The statute remains open for 2009 in the case of a “substantial understatement,” which has a six-year statute of limitations. The statute for assessment never closes when fraud is involved.
William Perez, IRS Shut Down, Week 3
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 159
Jack Townsend, For Tax Evasion, Is the Element “Tax Deficiency” or “Tax Due and Owing”. “The crisp answer to the question is ‘yes.'”