The Internal Revenue Service recently reminded taxpayers of their obligation to file a federal personal income tax return. See the attached document. The one thing I find interesting and thought it would be helpful to discuss is the confusion regarding filing an extension, but not paying the tax due, or not filing at all because the taxpayer cannot pay.
First, simply because you file an extension to file your return, moving the deadline from April 15th to October 15th, does not mean that you can also pay the tax liability on October 15th. You must still pay theamount due by April 15th. And, if you do not know the exact amount to pay you better pay an estimated amount or be subject to penalties and interest, which add up very quickly and can be easily described as draconian.
Second, if you cannot pay the tax liability you should not make matters worse by not filing your tax return. The better option is to file your return, wait until you receive a response from the IRS demanding payment, and then contact the IRS to make payment arrangements. By failing to file your return, you ultimately subject yourself to criminal and civil penalties that are not fun. File your return. The IRS will work with you on the payments, no matter what you hear from others.