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Do I have to file my tax return on April 15?

One of the reasons the customer service issues at the IRS are so frustrating is that you need to have federal tax questions answered before you can finish your state taxes. You may be able to get through to Georgia's Department of Revenue by phone or even by standing in line, but reaching a person at the IRS is from all accounts nigh on to impossible.

So say you have not gotten through by tomorrow night, and you need an answer to your question before you can file your return. You may want to consider filing for an extension.

The most important thing to remember about extensions is that the extension applies to filing the form, not paying taxes owed. You must pay estimated taxes on April 15, even if you file for a six-month extension.

The good news, though, is that Georgia will honor the federal extension. In fact, Georgia automatically gives you six months to file, even if you have only asked the IRS for a few more weeks. There are a couple of extra steps to take when you file your state tax return, but they are fairly straightforward.

Still, taxpayers may be reluctant to ask for more time, fearing that a request will call unwanted attention to their tax return. According to tax experts, though, there are a number of things that will certainly raise red flags on a return, but an extension is not one of them.

Remember, late payments could mean a big fine and some big penalties. You need to pay at least what you believe you owe by April 15. If you need more time to pull the information together, an extension would give you that time.

Source: Accounting Today, "8 Last-Minute Tax Tips," accessed April 14, 2015

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