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Steps for filing a late tax return

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC-TV) - CPA Chris Gamble of the New York State Society of CPA's discussed the steps you should take if you are not going to get your individual income tax return filed by the April 17 midnight deadline Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.

"Everybody gets an automatic six month extension to file, but you do need to file those forms by the deadline," said Gamble.

However, an extension to file is not an extension to pay an money owed to the IRS. "That is probably the biggest item to note," he said. "That it is simply an extension to file. It gives you six months until October 15. However, if you think that you're going to owe, you really should work through the return, and make a payment. If you don't make that payment, and then you file this summer or even later in the fall, you will have late payment penalties and interest if you owe. It is not an extension of time to pay."

Gamble said for your federal extension, you'll need Form 4868. There's many ways you can get it. You can go online to irs.gov. You can use tax-preparation software. You can also use your tax preparer, or you can even paper file the forms. He added, "It's very important to know that New York State is a separate extension and separate filing. That's form IT 370. It's a similar process. You can go online to the Department of Taxation and Finance, use software or use a preparer, or you can even mail the form in."

As you prepare your extension you should probably have a copy of your prior year's return. "You need your basics; name and social security number," Gamble said. "Again, you're going to want to work through the return. Just to reiterate, if you need to make a payment, you should make it with the extension."

An extension has the same due date as the return itself - Tuesday, April 17 at midnight. "If you're using software, you'll have a confirmation number you'll want to retain," noted Gamble. "If you're mailing the payment, you probably want to send it certified mail with a return receipt, so you have evidence that you filed it timely."

If you do owe money, Gamble said here are several options to pay. If you use the online filing, you can use your bank account or credits cards. If you're going to mail your forms, you can mail a check. "They really don't care how you pay them, as long as you pay."

For more information contact a trusted CPA, or visit the New York State Society of CPA's website, click here.

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