If the last three-and-a-half months have not provided you enough time to complete your calendar 2001 personal tax returns, fear not, securing an extension of time to file your returns is fairly simple.
Following is a summary of the steps to take to obtain additional time to file your federal and California tax returns. Note: Except where indicated, these extensions may still result in the imposition of interest and certain penalties on any unpaid taxes. Failure to file an extension will virtually always be more costly if you still owe money.
Federal Extension Procedures:
Form 4868 (20th Century Style) This one page form must be mailed on or before Monday, April 15th in order to obtain a four-month extension until August 15th. The extension is automatic, so you don’t even need to come up with a creative excuse for your procrastination. The IRS mailing addresses for Southern California taxpayers are: (with payment) P.O. Box 7122, San Francisco, CA 94120-7122, and (without payment) Fresno, CA 93888.
To document your timely filing, you can use the U.S. Postal Service’s certified mail or a private delivery service such as FedEx, UPS, etc.
Form 4868 (21st Century Style) If you don’t like paperwork, or want to save the cost of a stamp, you can request an extension via phone or computer. By calling 1-800-796-1074between April 1st and April 15th, you can obtain an immediate extension. Software tax preparation packages also contain an option to obtain an electronic extension. You will need your prior-year return in front of you when requesting the extensions over the phone or computer.
What if I owe and don’t pay?
Interest will accrue at a current rate of 6% on the unpaid balance. In addition, a ½ of 1% per month (6% per year), late payment penalty will generally apply, unless you have entered into a formal Installment Agreement (Form 9465) with the IRS (in which case the penalty rate drops to ¼ of 1%).
While an additional extension of time can be requested, failure to pay your federal tax by the extended due dates can result in the imposition of other very significant penalties, retroactive to the original due date.
California Extension Procedures
An automatic six-month extension until October 15th is allowed with absolutely no effort on your part.
Similar to the federal rules, California is willing to wait for their returns, but is less patient when it comes to cash. Therefore, if you owe money, you still need to send off a payment by April 15th. The payment is made with Form 3519 and should be mailed to: Franchise Tax Board, P.O. Box 942867, Sacramento, CA 94267-0051
What if I owe and don’t pay?
Interest will accrue at a current rate of 7%, and a ½ of 1% per month (6% per year) late payment penalty will generally apply. Harsher penalties apply unless at least 90% of your liability is paid by April 16th. Installment payment agreements can be requested by filing FTB Form 3567BK.
Obtaining Tax Forms
Tax Forms can be obtained through the IRS and FTB websites, or tele-fax numbers listed below, or by contacting one of our offices listed on our website (www.hcvt.com).
Payment by Credit Card
You can pay your tax liabilities via various credit cards. Be aware that the approximate 2.5% “service fee” may be a steep price for the convenience of not cutting a check and increasing your frequent flyer miles. However, following are the two service providers: