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Tax crunch: April 15 deadline fast approaching

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1040 tax forms

The mad scramble is on to complete those tax forms and get them sent off to the IRS by the April 15 deadline. The Internal Revenue Service says it has received almost 100 million tax returns as of last Thursday. The government agency expects 35 million more returns to come in by the tax deadline. Time is running out. If know you’ll not finish your 2013 tax return by the deadline, the IRS has an option to save you some headaches and penalties.

The easiest way for taxpayers to get some extra time is by requesting an extension. You can get an extension by going to the IRS.gov website and clicking on the free file link under filings and payments. Also, you can pick up form 4868 and file the extension yourself, or do it through a professional tax preparer. By filing th extension, you’ll get until October 15, 2014 to file last year’s return. That should take some of the pressure off in getting your taxes done.

As part of the extension, the IRS requires taxpayers to “estimate their tax liability” and to “pay any amount due.” By opting for the extension, you’ll avoid the late-filing penalty and may reduce or eliminate interest applied to payments made after the April 15 deadline. The IRS charges some pretty steep fees, so avoid them if you can. The interest rate is currently three percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally five percent per month based on the unpaid balance.

The IRS estimates 12 millions taxpayers will file for an extension by the deadline of midnight April 15.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service is gearing up for Tuesday, Tax Day. It will have some offices open late to accommodate last-minute filers. You can find the nearest office, opened after 6 p.m., on the USPS website.

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