After two years of COVID-caused disruption, tax season this year ends after the traditional, April 15 statutory date – but with more extensions for some people, and they are not COVID-related.
There are three extended due dates for filing. Maryland Smith Accounting Lecturer and CPA Samuel Handwerger explains: “Since Washington D.C. observes Emancipation Day on April 15, a Friday, the due date for most of the nation is pushed off until the following Monday, April 18. Oops, that falls on Patriots’ Day, celebrated in Maine and Massachusetts, so taxpayers in those states have until April 19 to file. And people in places of certain federal disaster areas (e.g., Kentucky tornadoes, Colorado wildfires and Tennessee storms) have until May 16.”
The ‘If You Owe’ Caveat
Additionally, there is the Oct. 15 “automatic extension” deadline for the asking at the IRS Free File website, or by sending in Form 4868. (This year it’s Oct. 17 because of the 15th falling on a weekend.)
But this is a filing-only extension and not a payment extension if you owe, reminds Handwerger, who oversees TerpTax, the University of Maryland’s free tax preparation service for low- to mid-income individuals in the College Park community (taking appointments through April 8, 2022).
“For reasons that almost defy logic, at the same time that you are asking for more time to compute your tax obligation, you have to guess the amount you will owe and pay that by the official due date or be subjected to possible penalty and interest for a late payment, all before you have computed the actual return,” he says.
However, there are ways to avoid the penalty for not paying on the due date. “You will need either to provide reasonable cause for non-payment or enter into an installment plan with the IRS,” Handwerger says. “In the interim, between the request for extension and the due date for the extended return, it is advisable to pay what you can if you anticipate owing.”
Prior to joining Maryland Smith, Handwerger worked as a senior tax researcher with EY in New York and led the tax planning and preparation departments of the CPA firm Handwerger, Cardegna, Funkhouser & Lurman.
Having received a 1996 Maryland Governor’s Volunteer of the Year Award for financial and management advice to non-profit organizations, he initiated TerpTax in 2014 and has subsequently directed UMD students in the program as volunteer tax preparers. For the participating students, “the tax-filing assistance is a realistic work experience, as the program operates just like a CPA firm’s tax department,” he previously noted. “Student volunteers take on various roles such as tax preparer and quality tax reviewer.”
Read more about TerpTax and its recent history via “Three ways TerpTax Adapted to the Pandemic” and “Virtual Tax Filing Assistance: How Maryland Smith Students Serve Peers, Community.”
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