The Internal Revenue Service is the ONLY branch of the government that actually brings money IN. I thought, certainly, their tax return form designers and processing system programmers would be considered essential. The Internal Revenue Service claimed that this interruption of work made it impossible for them to be able to accept any tax returns before January 31st. We used to start filing returns electronically the second Friday of January. The government has shaved three weeks off our already time-compressed income tax season and while the start date was extended, the due date was not.
Individual 1040 series tax returns are still due April 15th. Corporation returns are due March 15th. Partnership returns are due April 15th. What if YOU need more time? That is why we have the ability to request an extension to file. These requests are never turned down. The IRS automatically says YES to your request for more time to file, but you MUST file the paper to let them know you are extending your tax return due date. The extension only gives you more time to send in the paperwork. The extension does not give you more time to pay any tax that might be due with your tax return. So it is important that you estimate how much you expect your taxes will be. If you don’t have enough federal income tax withheld from your paycheck, you can make an Estimated Tax Payment. I’ll talk more about Estimated Tax Payments in my next blog. Who signs your tax return? You sign your tax returns under penalty of perjury. You are swearing your return is correct. If you paid someone money to prepare your return, they must also sign your return. They are stating they have done everything they can to apply the tax laws properly. They are attesting they have prepared an accurate return. If you pay them and they don’t sign the return, then they are breaking the law and you need to find a reputable advisor. The IRS will want to put them out of business because you deserve someone on YOUR side. You certainly do not want someone working to put you on the INSIDE – inside the “tax jail”, that is. Just because you pay someone to prepare your return, and just because they sign your return right under where you sign, YOU are still the one responsible for paying your correct tax. YOU are the one the IRS will call to collect the tax. So take the time you need to collect your tax data. “Haste makes waste” and can cost you interest and penalties. Be sure to report all of your income. Take the deductions you are allowed to take. Don’t guess about your numbers. Be accurate. Double check your numbers. Review your return. File electronically.
By January 31, 2014:
1. File Form 941 for the 4th quarter 2013 OR Form 944 for the whole year 2013
2. File your state’s 4th Quarter 2013 income tax withholding tax reports
3. File your state’s 4th Quarter 2013 unemployment tax report
4. File Form 940 for the whole year 2013 federal unemployment tax report
5. Give Forms W2 to your employees
6. Give Forms 1099 to your independent contractors
By February 28, 2014 :
1. Send Form W3 with Copy A of all Forms W2 to Social Security Administration
2. DO not mail the W3/W2 to IRS, it goes to SSA
3. Mail Form 1096 with IRS copy of Forms 1099 to the Internal Revenue Service.
4. 1096 is the form that goes to IRS
5. I’s OKAY to file these transmittal forms in January. You don’t have to wait till February 28th.