NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Just four days remained as of Friday until the deadline for Americans to file their taxes.
But even if you can’t pay your taxes, there are options that could save you time and money, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
It takes an average of 16 hours just to fill out the 1040 tax form. Thus, many Americans simply put it off.
“Why is it stressful? It just is,” said Jere Herzenberg of the Upper West Side.
“It kind of scares me a little bit — the idea of being late,” said Jason Robinson of Washington Heights.
But if you’ve done the math and you find you can’t pay what you owe, then what? CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger said it’s not time to don’t panic just yet.
“You’re not the only person who can’t pay taxes, and the IRS has a lot of different remedies for you,” Schlesinger said.
One options, Schlesinger said, is just to file and pay what you can. If you can’t pay everything at once, ask for a payment plan
“The IRS does not want you to hide,” Schlesinger said. “They want you to say: ‘Here’s how much I have. Here’s how much I think I can do in the future,’ and frankly, if you are proactive, chances are they’re going to work with you.”
Schlesinger also said you can consider filing an extension, but you must make sure it is the right kind.
One type will allow you an extra 120 days to pay your taxes. Another allows 6 months to file, but you are still responsible for paying what you think you owe by April 15 or penalties start stacking up.
“if you don’t pay your taxes, and don’t pay what you think you owe, the penalties the RIS can levy on you can be up to nearly 50 percent of what you would have owed,” Schlesinger said.
A last-ditch option is to pay with a credit card — or get a loan. But Schlesinger advised you should check to see whether the interest rate is lower or higher than the penalty the government would charge.
“It’s just bad business to screw around with Uncle Sam,” Schlesinger said.
As tax firms scrambled to file a flurry of last-minute tax forms, experts all seemed to agree — ignoring the unpleasant business of doing your taxes is the worst mistake you can make.
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