There are only 63 more days that extensions for 2011 tax returns can be filed. (Yes that probably means we’ll be waiting for Mr. Romney’s 2011 for 7 more weeks.) After October 15th, your 2011 return can be filed but it will lose any protection you gained by filing an extension and paying your estimated tax.
That does not mean you have 63 more days to procrastinate. Don’t forget to allot time for preparation. If you’re preparing your own return, good luck and consider this a quick reminder. If, however, you will be using a tax pro to prepare you return, this is the time to be getting your return documents to them. Don’t let the 63 days lull you. October 15th is not April 15th. They are two entirely different situations.
63 days before April 15th, I’m geared to taxes and nothing but tax returns. I’ve scheduled my life so that I have very little but taxes in my life. I have no problem putting in long days (12 to 16 hours) and working 7 days a week. But after April 15th, I cut my office (and tax) hours back and re-introduce the world into my life. I work on CPE and notices, and prepare to act or direct a show. I rediscover books, movies and TV.
The returns I get this time of the year generally require more time to put the info a client brings me into tax return shape. I don’t see too many 1 W-2 returns. If you wait too long to get me (and I’m assuming most tax pros) your info, you make it hard to get your return completed by October 15th. And there is the other big difference. If I can’t get a return done by April 15th, I can fall back on an extension and finish the return a few days late. But that won’t work in October. If I can’t get the return filed, you could be paying penalties.
Remember, you aren’t the only procrastinator. I can adjust my schedule to work on your returns but I don’t have the time as I do in April. Wait too long and the return just can’t get done.
So now is the time to get your records in shape for your tax pro. And get those records to them ASAP. Don’t assume you can drop them by at the last minute and get a return on time. Nope, you’re had plenty of time and a warning.