Hello and welcome back to weekly(ish) lifehacks, a recurring series where we share a simple tip on how to make your life just a little bit easier (and we promise not to overuse the word “hack”).
Say you are one of those people who every year vows you’ll get your taxes done earlier, and every year you end up putting it off longer and longer, and by time you finally call your tax guy, he’s all booked up until tax day, even though tax day is a few days later, on April 18, this year. This definitely a hypothetical situation that has not affected a certain blog editor who should certainly know better by now, but maybe you’ll come across it in your life because we’re all busy and who can keep track of all those receipts from last year anyway. But you don’t have to fret that the Obama tax hit squad will be coming to knock down your door any time soon. It’s really easy to get for more time to file and pay your taxes. You basically just have to ask.
If you need more time to file your taxes, you fill out this form and mail it in — you’ll have until Oct. 17 to finish it, which, come on, is more than enough time. The rub is you still have to pay your taxes by tax day; so if you owe the government (ie if you’re a freelancer or independent contractor), use this estimate calculator to figure it out; or if your situation hasn’t changed much since last year, you can pay the same you did last year. If you’re getting money back, you just have to file the extension and finish filing before October 17.
To file an extension on your New York state taxes, fill out this form.
And if you can’t pay on tax day, you can ask for more time to pay too. The IRS is surprisingly cool about this. They have a variety of programs that offer you more time to pay, from payment plans to penalty free extensions. Read here for explanation of options.
H/T to Brass Taxes for advice on filing an extension.
We kinda hate the term “lifehack” too but for more of them you might find useful, go here.