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Filing your taxes: Five tips

April 08, 2012|By Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times
  • April 15, the usual tax-filing deadline, falls on a Sunday, and April 16 is a holiday in Washington, D.C., so taxpayers have till midnight April 17 to file their forms. Above, Susan Sobocinski waits in line at the Manhattan post office to mail her taxes April 15, 2005.
April 15, the usual tax-filing deadline, falls on a Sunday, and April 16… (Tina Fineberg, Associated…)

Filed your taxes yet? No? Whether you're simply procrastinating or deliberately putting off paying until the last possible moment, the deadline for filing your income tax forms is coming next week. Some things to know:

Two extra days: The usual tax deadline, April 15, falls on a Sunday. In addition, April 16 is Emancipation Day, a holiday in the District of Columbia. So, this year you have until midnight April 17 to file.

Extensions: Anyone, regardless of income, can get an automatic six-month extension on filing by using the Internal Revenue Service's Free File online program (go to But you must estimate your tax liability on Form 4868 and pay the amount due.

Fresh Start: Taxpayers who have been unemployed up to 30 days in 2011 or 2012, and self-employed people who suffered a 25% or greater drop in income last year because of the economy, can put off paying their taxes and filing until Oct. 15 under the IRS' Fresh Start initiative. Interest will accumulate on any tax amount that is due, but no penalties will apply.

Combat duty: Members of the military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and certain other combat areas have 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file and pay taxes.

Living overseas: U.S. taxpayers who live and work abroad, as well as members of the military serving in non-combat areas outside the country, have until June 15 to file their forms, but they still must pay taxes by April 17.

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