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The Mass Delusion of April 15th (or, Why Form 4868 Is Your Friend)

Hello friends! Today I want to talk about extensions. This is a timely topic because after giving a deadline of March 1st for a guaranteed April 15th filing (yes, smartypants, it’s the 17th this year), I have spent the last ten days trying to talk clients who I still want to work with into extending their returns. Some people agree right away, some people are a tough sell, and some people won’t even let me finish the sentence before they refuse.

Why are people afraid of extending their returns? I was discussing this phenomenon last week with my officemate Ben, and he referred to it as a “mass delusion”. I think that sums it up nicely. We have all been conditioned to focus on that April date. A barrage of advertisements from software and various Big Tax Prep companies (now THAT is a topic for a later blog). In the days before efile, local news crews loved to show B roll of late night traffic jams outside the Post Office. It sure seems like you have to file by April 15th, right?

You don’t.

Not only are you allowed to extend your return, it’s so not a big deal that you get a six month extension automatically just by filing Form 4868.

When you extend your return, not only do you get to partner with your chosen tax professional instead of settling for whoever can work you in, but statistically your return will be more accurate because it’s not being prepared by me and reviewed by you under a time crunch. It’s just a way more chill process (for both of us) to file your taxes in, say, June.

One very important thing to note is that filing an extension extends the deadline to file your return, it does not extend the deadline to pay your taxes. Therefore, if you think you’ll owe a balance on your return, it’s best to make an estimated payment when you extend.

If you’re interested in extending your 2017 tax return, send me an email. I charge $25 to file an extension which is then credited against the final invoice for your tax preparation.

Dawn Howard