It’s Time to Panic!

If you use a tax professional and have not yet provided your paperwork to him or her, it’s time to panic and work on this. In past years, I’ve made this post in early October. But this tax year is different than others, and if you turn your paperwork in after the end of September, it’s quite possible your return will end up being filed after the October 15th extension deadline.

Tax returns are taking longer to prepare this year than last. We’re seeing the average return taking 10% longer than last year. Let’s assume that an average tax professional could prepare ten returns in a day; this year, he or she might only get nine done. That doesn’t sound like much, but most tax returns on extension are difficult ones, with complications.

If you file late, realize it’s as if your extension never happened. Of course, if you’re getting a refund filing late is not the end of the world: The penalties for late filing are based on the tax you owe, so if you don’t owe any tax there are no penalties.

Our official deadline for receiving paperwork was September 17th. Most tax professionals I know had similar deadlines. That means if you haven’t turned in your paperwork you’re on borrowed time. It’s time for the procrastinators out there to stop procrastinating if you don’t want to pay an extra 25% of your tax for late filing.

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