Late Filing and Me
Late filing and me — those are two things I never wanted to see in the same sentence. I always file pretty late in the tax season, because I’m usually waiting on a form to straggle in. There have been a couple of times when I dropped off my return late at night on tax day.
But last night I screwed up.
I finished up our federal taxes at about 11pm and e-filed them. I decided to send in a check for the remaining balance owed since I needed to drop off extensions for the states anyway. So I wrote out the checks, printed out the extensions, got everything in envelopes and stamped, and got moving.
Keep in mind that the post office that stays open til midnight on tax day is 10 minutes from our house, if you hit several lights red. I left with 20 minutes to spare. (Not much, I know, but I thought it was enough time.)
But I failed to take into account that the tax drop off was not at the post office. Instead, it was a few blocks away and I got lost following the signs for the drop off. I didn’t realize it til afterward, but I actually drove past the drop off twice without seeing it. Sigh.
So I was one minute late. Which is too late, of course.
I am so kicking myself not clicking the little “send payment electronically” option on the federal return, among other things. (Ironically, I thought it would take me longer to enter the bank information than to slap a check in an envelope, and I wanted to get the state extensions in on time.)
In case you’re wondering, the IRS web site says that “The penalties for filing and paying late may be abated if you have reasonable cause and the failure was not due to willful neglect.”
Oh and next time? If I don’t have all my forms by March 1st I’m filing extensions, whether I end up needing them or not.