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Tax Day is here, but is timely filing absolutely necessary?

Department of Treasury
Department of Treasury

Tax Day 2014 is upon us, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a day of panic and stress, according to an article posted at Money Saving Parent on April 15, 2014.

Most Americans dread completing their IRS tax filing and some put off the agony as long as possible. This is particularly true among those who owe money to Uncle Sam. These individuals would rather put off sending money to the IRS so they often wait until the last minute to complete the schedules and forms before racing to the post office with letter in hand, hoping to turn in their IRS letter before the clock strikes 12 a.m.

Timely tax filing is certainly a good idea, but Tax Day doesn’t have to be as stressful for some taxpayers. The reason is because, while the IRS created Tax Day as a guideline for filing, those who are due a refund do not need to adhere strictly to the rules. The midnight, April 15 Tax Day deadline and the penalties that follow only apply to those who owe the IRS money. Everyone else can breathe a sigh of relief and file later, if they like, without penalty.

Why does it work this way and why doesn’t the IRS make this fact more widely known? It’s due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, the IRS doesn’t want to press its luck. Like any tax organization, they would rather encourage individuals to get the job done and complete their filing in a timely manner. Broadcasting to the nation that Tax Day only really matters when you owe money would encourage millions to put off the filing task

The second reason the IRS doesn’t openly disclose that individuals with refunds have longer to file is due to simple cash flow concepts. Why pressure people to file when it means the IRS will have to hand over money to the taxpayers? Better to allow them more time and delay sending out checks. It’s the same principle that guides many businesses.

For those who owe taxes, the situation is entirely different. If you owe, then you have to complete your filing by midnight on Tax Day or you have to file for an extension. If you fail to do so, you will be assessed penalties each month, calculated as a percentage of the money owed. This is why the April 15 Tax Day deadline is very serious for those who owe money. They know they have to take action quickly before time runs out.

Whether you owe tax or plan to receive a refund, it still makes sense to complete the task as quickly as possible. Your best bet is to use one of the many online services such as TurboTax or H&R Block. Even those who file an extension need to get the paperwork completed and make estimated payments before the midnight deadline so it makes sense to get going as quickly as possible.

Tax Day and tax filing are required evils. Yes, you can delay your tax filing if you are due a refund so there is no need to panic. But your best bet is to get the task completed and out of the way as quickly as possible. Set aside some time, gather up documents, input the necessary information, complete the filing process. It’s better to play it safe, so don’t procrastinate- get your taxes filed so you can put Tax Day 2014 behind you for good.

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