partlycloudy
Wednesday July 1st, 2015 7:14PM

April 15 not much of a deadline for most taxpayers

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret.

If you're due a refund - and about three-fourths of filers get refunds - April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.

The Internal Revenue Service doesn't like to talk about it, but penalties for filing late federal tax returns apply only to people who owe money. The penalty is a percentage of what you owe. If you owe nothing, 5 percent of nothing is ...nothing!

But it doesn't make much sense to file late. If you are owed a refund, why wouldn't you want it as soon as possible? And if you have unpaid taxes, the late fees add up quickly.

"Most people with refunds are filing early in January, February and March because they'd like the refund early," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. "So we don't see an incentive and we don't see much experience of people waiting later for us to keep the money longer."

The failure-to-file penalty is generally 5 percent of your unpaid tax bill for every month, or part of a month, you are late. It kicks in on April 16. In general, the maximum penalty is 25 percent of your original tax bill.

There also is a penalty for failing to pay your tax bill, separate from the penalty for failing to file at all, but it's much smaller. That's because the IRS wants you to file a return even if you don't have enough money to pay what you owe.

The failure-to-pay penalty is 0.5 percent of your unpaid taxes for every month, or part of a month, you don't pay.

About 12 million taxpayers are expected to request extensions, giving them an additional six month to file their returns, according to the IRS. However, these taxpayers still must pay at least 90 percent of their tax bill by Tuesday to avoid the failure-to-pay penalty.

___

What if you wait years to file your tax return?

If you're really late, the IRS will take your refund after three years, turning it over to the Treasury.

Last month, the IRS said it had $760 million waiting to be claimed by an estimated 918,600 taxpayers who did not file returns for 2010.

Some of these people weren't required to file returns because they didn't make enough money. But they still may have had taxes withheld from their pay. The 2010 returns were due on April 15, 2011, so those taxpayers have until Tuesday to claim their refunds.

As part of the agency's effort to encourage these taxpayers to come forward, the IRS reassured in its news release: "There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund."

___

The IRS expected to receive about 35 million returns in the last week before the deadline. Most come with payments instead of refund requests.

Some other numbers, through April 4:

- Individual returns filed: 99.9 million.

- Refunds issued: 78.8 million.

- Share of taxpayers getting refunds: 79 percent.

- Total amount of refunds: $220 billion.

- Average refund: $2,792.

- Where's my refund? Visits to IRS.gov: 236 million.

- The rise of computers: 90 percent of returns have been filed electronically.

- Not bothered by tax forms: 58 percent of Americans say it is very easy or somewhat easy to complete a federal return, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

- But some people are bothered: 11 percent say it is very hard to complete a federal return.

- These people are really bothered: 7 percent say they would be willing to pay more in federal taxes if filing were easier.

___

Who pays federal taxes?

Last year, the federal government collected $2.8 trillion in taxes and fees. Here is where the money came from:

- Individual income tax: 47 percent.

- Payroll taxes: 32 percent.

- Corporate income tax: 10 percent.

- Excise taxes: 3 percent.

- Unemployment insurance: 2 percent

- Estate and gift taxes: 1 percent.

- Customs duties: 1 percent.

- Miscellaneous: 4 percent.

Sources: IRS, AP-GfK Poll conducted March 20-24, Treasury report on budget year 2013.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 6 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 6 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
GSP: No charges in E. Hall ice cream truck accident
No charges will be filed after a little boy was struck by a vehicle passing an ice cream truck earlier this week in the East Hall area.
6:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
New Exec Director named for Good News Clinics
Good News Clinics has named Allison Borchert, RN, as new Executive Director to replace outgoing Executive Director Cheryl Christian, according to an announcement by GNC Board of Directors President Richard Bennett, DMD.
By Staff
5:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Stone Mountain Park official: Rebel flags must fly under law
Confederate flags will continue flying at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta because Georgia law prevents their removal, the head of a state authority that oversees the park said Wednesday.
By Associated Press
4:41PM ( 2 hours ago )
Hall County native named Ga. DOT Area Engineer
The Georgia Department of Transportation has appointed a Hall County native, Shannon Giles, as Area Engineer serving Barrow, Clarke, Jackson, Oconee and Walton counties.
By Staff
4:10PM ( 3 hours ago )
VIDEO: Hall Co. Fire Marshal offers fireworks safety tips
Wednesday marked the first day that citizens could purchase consumer, "aerial" fireworks in Georgia, and Hall County Fire officials are warning residents of the potential hazards.
2:25PM ( 4 hours ago )