Do This If You’re Still Not Ready To File Your Taxes

Lying to the IRS. Lying on your taxes is a felony that could result in jail time of up to three years. Individuals face fines of up to $250,000 and corporations face up to $500,000. In addition, you could be slapped with the costs related to your prosecution. Uncle Sam says don’t do it. Trust us, he’ll get you.  It is down to the wire and only a week to go before your tax filing is due. But if you are still looking for receipts, haven’t made an appointment with your tax preparer or have discovered a serious tax issue that needs to be handled, what do you do?

File for an extension.

If you really feel that there is no way you can get your taxes filed by the April 17th deadline, you can send in IRS Form 4858, Automatic Extension of Time to File. This half -page form asks for your name, address, and social security number. It’s that simple. This will give you another 6 months to get your taxes filed.

One caveat: If you owe taxes, you still need to pay the amount of taxes you owe or a close approximation. Don’t just make up an amount here. The IRS warns that if it finds your estimate unreasonable, it could invalidate your request, subjecting you to non-filing penalties.

While tax law doesn’t strictly require you to pay your tax bill in order to get more time to file, you should, or end up owing more in the long run. The IRS will add interest to any tax bill not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty.

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Black Enterprise Columnist Jennifer Streaks is a Financial Expert, Author & Pundit. Continue the conversation by following her on twitter @JStreaks or visiting her website at