An extension is a legal means to change the due date for filing your tax return to October 15. Any
taxes you may owe still need to be paid by April 15, but an extension gives you an extra 6 months to
file an accurate and complete tax return.
What this means is that, for most people, you just don’t have to sweat April 15!
For a number of reasons, we get extensions for most of our clients.
It is still important to have a good understanding of your tax situation early on, so we will need your
tax documents as soon as possible. If you owe taxes, they should be paid by the April due date to
avoid penalties and interest. In addition, IRA contributions and some other elections must be made by
the April 15 due date.
In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in delayed and amended brokerage, bank,
and other financial statements, some not being delivered until April, or amended after they were sent
out. Some statements, such as partnership reports, may not be available until September. If you file
your tax return and a delayed or amended statement shows up, you may have to file an amended tax
return at additional cost, and may be subject to penalties.
Our clients tend to have more complicated tax situations. This is because people with complicated tax
and financial situations seek out a Certified Public Accounting firm to prepare their tax returns instead
of using one of the many storefront tax preparers. Frequently, research and analysis is required to
determine the best method for preparing your return. This is particularly true for clients with
businesses, trusts, multiple state returns, and other special circumstances. The tax landscape is
constantly changing due to legislation, court decisions, and IRS rule changes. Thorough research is
critical to achieve the best results for our clients. We just don’t plug numbers into a computer and hit
print. We spend many hours every year in continuing education to stay abreast of this changing tax
landscape, and we invest heavily in our research library.
We prioritize clients based on whether there are situations that are so time-critical they can’t wait even
until April 15. These priorities include:
- Returns which affect clients due to a drop-dead date, such as filing college Financial Aid
Forms, loan applications, or any other time critical matter. Getting your return done so you can
afford to send your child to college is a top priority.
- Clients with large amounts due. Even with our first pass analysis, it is critical to make payment
in full to the US Treasury by the April due date. The IRS may assess penalties and interest if a
taxpayer is substantially underpaid..
- Clients with large tax refunds.
This is how we do business, and we hope that it serves your needs. It permits us to stay open year
round and provide personal service to our clients, who deal directly with us. We do not outsource
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has published an excellent paper on
extensions. You can read it here.