IRS grants two extra days to file because April 15 falls on a Saturday

Dollars & Sense

February 20, 2000|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

It is one of those years. First, came 2000. Next is Leap Day. And then we can celebrate that old favorite April 17?

"Procrastinators can rejoice," said Patrick Hill, spokesman for the California Franchise Tax Board. "They get two extra days."

That 48-hour grace period -- which is granted because April 15 falls on a Saturday -- won't be enough for countless taxpayers, however. If you number yourself among them, the Internal Revenue Service will give you more time to file your return.

But don't take that to mean you can put off paying, too. If you don't send in enough money to square your bill by April 17, interest and late penalties will start accruing the next day.

The federal government will give you only a four-month reprieve until Aug. 15, but if you've got a good excuse, it will tack on another extension for two months, giving you until Oct. 16 to file.

If you think a federal extension is in your future, pick up a copy of Form 4868. But no matter what you might infer from the 1040 booklet's instruction to "see Form 4868," the IRS does not include the extension form in the booklet. If you wait until April 17, your best bet is to hit the IRS Web site -- www.irs.gov -- and download the form.

Maybe the IRS is trying to save you from yourself, because filing for an extension has potential drawbacks. Here are two:

The government gets to sit on your refund longer if you file for an extension.

Interest and penalties can mount quickly if you fail to pay by April 17.

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