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Taxpayer Rights, Timely Filing and Penalties

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The Internal Revenue Service has a mission statement that reads like this: “Provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all." So this means that you should only pay your fair share and it helps to file in a timely manner. You have the right to Privacy and Confidentiality, Professional and Courteous Service, and other rights we have all come to expect.

For the individual, that means their income return is to be dated and stamped for delivery by April 15th of each year unless the 15th falls on a weekend; then you have until the following Monday. The IRS is working on an extended period of time for those filing by E-File, to be determined at a later date. A taxpayer who cannot file by the deadline is afforded the opportunity to “Automatically Extend” (Form 4868) for four months until August 15th. If necessary, an additional request for a limited time may be filed for on this deadline.

An important footnote to these extensions, is that they do not extend your obligation to pay taxes in a timely manner. Based on the tax due date, if the tax goes unpaid there may be penalties involved. The penalty for late payment is ½% of the tax due for each month or part of month that your payment is late up to a maximum of 25% of the tax due. The penalty for late filing of a tax return is 5% of the tax due on the return for each month not filed up to 25% of the tax due. Interest is charged on the tax due and penalties assessed until paid. So mail your check with your extension.

It is imperative that you file your tax on time even if you can’t pay the tax due at that time. You may make a request for an “Installment Payment” (Form 9465) when you file your return. A charge of $43 is assessed to process this request and the Late Filing penalty and interest will continue to be assessed during the payment period. If you make this request and fail to make the required payment when due, the IRS has the authority to terminate your “Installment Agreement” and the full amount of tax due, penalties, and interest then become due in full.

If you should have any questions about your rights as a taxpayer you can contact either the Internal Revenue Service or a qualified Tax Professional. If you need help in filing for an extension or understanding filing dates, penalties, or the Installment Agreement then contact a qualified Tax Professional.


Terry Stevens is a Member: National Associate of Tax Professionals

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Terry Stevens

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