Welcome to MoneyMaestra.com. It seemed appropriate to launch my new website on April 15th, which is normally tax day for the United States. The IRS is also where I began my federal career and my plan for retirement. This is the first time I can remember the IRS giving a 3-month automatic extension to file and pay your federal income taxes. The new due date is July 15, 2020. The extension is a gift from the IRS, due to COVID-19.
In order to take full advantage of the extension, let’s talk about what it means and how late filing and paying of federal income taxes works. MoneyMaestra was created because I believe Financial Responsibility creates Financial Freedom. I know this works because I created Financial Freedom in my own life and was able to retire at a young age from my previous career. A myriad of money topics will be covered in these blogs, in a simple and effective way. In this first blog post, MoneyMaestra is talking taxes.
Normally, on April 15th, federal income taxes are due to be filed and paid, unless April 15th falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, then the date is delayed to the next business day. What is important to remember is that taxes are due to be filed and paid on April 15th (and for 2020, July 15th). If you file your federal income tax return timely but owe money to the IRS and do not pay, you will be charged interest and penalties on the amount of tax owed, starting from the due date of the return. It is important to file timely though, even if you don’t have the money to pay the taxes owed, because the IRS also charges a failure to file penalty of 5% of the tax owed for each month for up to five months, for a possible failure to file penalty total of 25% of tax owed, just for not filing your taxes timely. So always file timely and remember if you do get an extension to file it is only an extension to file, not an extension to pay.
The IRS also charges a failure to pay penalty of one-half of one percent for each month, or part of a month, up to 25% of the unpaid tax owed from the due date of the return (normally April 15th) until the tax is paid in full. The one-half percent increases to one percent if the tax due remains unpaid 10 days after the IRS issues a notice of intent to levy property. If you file your return timely and request an IRS installment payment, the one-half percent failure to pay penalty decreases to one-quarter of one percent for any month in which an installment agreement is in effect. So there are options but the best option is to pay your taxes timely.
One more thing we can’t forget, the IRS also charges interest on unpaid tax due, the current 2020 interest rate the IRS is charging is 5% and it is compounded daily. Even without doing the math- it is easy to understand how an unpaid tax bill can grow significantly with added penalties and interest.
The key to avoiding throwing away money through penalties and interest is to file and pay your federal income taxes on time. Many people dread the April 15th deadline but this year we get a free three-month extension, but that extension only helps if you make it work for you. So during that time, I hope that you can come up with a plan to file and pay your taxes timely. I know that we are in unprecedented times and many people are struggling financially but the first step in moving forward in your financial life is to face it head on. So how about starting to really look at your money situation while we are in quarantine. Most of us have more time on our hands than we previously did- so besides cleaning our houses, let’s also clean up our finances. MoneyMaestra was created because I believe Financial Responsibility creates Financial Freedom and I want to share my knowledge and experience to help people create Financial Freedom in their lives. I hope that you will continue to follow my blog posts, as I will be diving into ways to take the worry and fear out of money and put in the freedom and fun. Please come walk with me along this journey.
Susan, the MoneyMaestra