NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News

Local News

April 16, 2013

Psst. Tax deadline not much of a deadline for most

WASHINGTON (AP) — Here’s a little secret for all you procrastinators on Tax Day: The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t like to talk about it, but as long as you don’t owe any additional taxes, there is no penalty for filing a few days late.

The late filing penalty is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month — or part of a month — a return is late. That can add up quickly if you owe additional taxes. But what if the unpaid taxes are zero? Five percent of zero is ... zero!

However, if you wait more than three years to file, you forfeit your refund. So maybe it’s better to file by April 15, after all. Besides, if you’re getting a refund, why wait?

The IRS got a late start on tax season this year, thanks to a last-minute tax law passed by Congress on Jan. 1. But the deadline for filing returns didn’t change, so if you owe money, it’s time to settle up with the government.

In all, the IRS expects to process 149 million returns from individuals this year, including returns from people who file for 6-month extensions. About a quarter of returns are usually filed in the last three weeks before Tax Day. This year the IRS received more than 10 million electronically filed returns from Friday through Sunday.

A look at this year’s filing season, through April 5:

Returns filed so far: 96.6 million.

Share of taxpayers getting a refund: 81 percent.

Total amount of refunds issued so far: $214 billion.

Average refund: $2,755.

Average refund in 2012: $2,794.

The rise of computers: 89 percent of returns have been filed electronically.

Clinging to the past: That leaves 11 percent still filing paper returns.

These people are getting a refund: 29 percent of Americans in a Pew Research Center poll said they like doing their taxes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Special Features