Tax Day has come and it's no surprise that today happens to be one of the busiest days of the tax season. But, if you are expecting to receive a tax refund this year, you don't have to join the other procrastinating taxpayers who rushing in their tax returns.
It has been instilled in our heads that tax returns must be filed by April 15. Many people are unaware that this deadline doesn't apply to taxpayers who are owed a refund. Understandably, the IRS is more concerned about collecting taxes that doling out refunds.
However, it doesn't mean that you should delay the filing of your tax returns — you won't get that refund if you don't file. Additionally, your refund is forfeited to the government if you don't claim it within three years of the original filing due date. You have until April 15, 2017 to claim your refund for the 2013 tax year.
Penalties for being late
The penalty for missing the filing deadline and failing to pay on time is 5 percent of the owed taxes for each month past the deadline. If you file more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $135 or 100 percent of the owed taxes, whichever is smaller.
Even with a tax-filing extension, which pushes the filing deadline to Oct. 15, you'll still have to pay at least 90 percent of the due taxes by today to avoid failure-to-pay penalties.
See if you'll get a refund
To see if you're going to get a refund (and if you can file after the deadline without a penalty), use one of the many free tax-refund calculators that are available from tax-preparation companies, such as those from TurboTax and H&R Block.
While these calculators will provide a general picture of your tax situation, you cannot be absolutely sure that you are getting a refund until you file your return.
If you can make it by the deadline, you have nothing to worry about.
Take advantage of this little-known tax "loophole"
Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.