Late tax filers have three years after the original return due date to file and get a refund
The tax deadline is just a week away – April 17th, don’t forget! – and most people are scrambling to get their 2011 tax returns finished and filed with the IRS. But there’s another year you should be worried about too: 2008.
What’s so special about 2008 you might ask? Well, April 17, 2012 is the last day you can get a tax refund from filing a late 2008 return.
You see, the way the statute of limitations work, you have three years after the original deadline to file your late tax returns and still get a refund, and the IRS has a full ten years to go after people who owe them back taxes.
You can still file after three years has elapsed, you just won’t get any money back. But why not file your 2008 taxes now? Why sacrifice money you’re entitled to?
Lots of late filers automatically assume that they owe money and on top of that are going to get slammed with harsh IRS late penalties. They assume it’s better to hide than to face the IRS.
On the contrary, the truth is just the opposite for most people. Late filers are actually more likely than regular filers to get a refund back. Plus, if you are due a refund, you won’t have to pay any penalties at all. And even if you do owe back taxes, and thus penalties, the only way to minimize your burden of debt is to file sooner rather than later. So really, you have nothing to lose.
Not to mention the fact that 2008 was a particularly lucrative year for taxpayers. As the economy went into a tailspin, with a recession the likes of which the country hadn’t seen since the end of World War II, the government implemented a number of relief measures that resulted in unusually high tax refunds, including
- A 0% tax rate for qualified dividends and net capital gains that were brought down to 0% for taxpayers with incomes under $42,600
- An increased Earned Income Credit that can provide a sizable refund for low-income taxpayers with children
- The First-Time Homebuyer Credit which could provide you with a $7,500 credit if you bought a main residence between April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009.
- The Residential Energy-Efficient Property Credit for qualifying solar electric, solar water heating, fuel cell, small wind energy, and geothermal property
- Disaster assistance and emergency tax relief for the Midwest disaster areas, including liberalized rules for casualty loss deductions.
Don’t forgo a late tax refund just because you’re too lazy or scared to file. This is your last chance. Wouldn’t it be a pleasant spring surprise if you suddenly found you had more than one tax refund to spend? There’s only a week left before the deadline, but PriorTax will get your late taxes done fast.
Photo via Alexander Boden on Flickr.