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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Nation/World

IRS Tax Deadline Has Arrived

Last minute filers scramble to file their taxes before the midnight deadline.

State and federal taxes are due at midnight, prompting procrastinators to file last minute tax extensions.

Last minute filers scramble to file their taxes before the midnight deadline. (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)
Last minute filers scramble to file their taxes before the midnight deadline. (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

The IRS will accept a 6-month extension to file tax return forms if a request is submitted by midnight Tuesday.

Extensions can be requested through mail, tax-preparation software, or online at the IRS website. If choosing to mail in the form, it must be postmarked by Tuesday to be considered on time.

The IRS will confirm receipts of the requests filled out online instantly.

If the extension request is accepted, the IRS will grant individuals until October 16 to file a complete tax return.

This extension does not, however, grant extra time to pay any taxes that are owed.

The tax bill must be paid by the initial deadline, and not doing so will result in additional interest charges and fees, on top of the amount owed.

There are harsh penalties for failing to pay taxes on time. The IRS charges interest on unpaid taxes, currently at 3.25% and compounded daily.

Also, the IRS will incur a late payment fee of one-half of one percent of any tax not paid by the deadline, which is charged monthly as long as the tax goes unpaid.

There are also penalties for missing the tax filing deadline and failing to ask for an extension. Thus, it is important to request an extension even if there is a slight chance of missing the midnight deadline.

Filers who haven't sorted out their tax return yet and aren't aware of how much money they owe should not panic.

Annabel Marquez, a spokeswoman for the IRS, said "They can send a payment to the IRS based on what they believe will be their tax debt, and once they have the extra six months, they can square everything away."

If earnings are consistent year to year, it is best to estimate what is owed based on previous figures. If an individual were to overpay, he or she will be issued a refund after the tax return is filed.

If an individual underpays, he or she will pay a penalty and interest on the difference. Payments can be made by check, online, or phone if using a credit or debit card.

More details about making payments and filing tax returns can be found on the IRS website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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