It seems that the winter months of January and February drag by, with each day lasting longer than the previous. And yet with the approach of spring, it seems that time has begun to fast-forward through the days, the weeks, until finally tax season chooses to rear its ugly head. The day to file taxes has arrived. If you haven’t already been collecting you W-2s, 1099s, and other tax forms, the time do so is now. Any further delay and you may risk missing the deadline.

With reference to the deadline, most people know that the tax filing and payment cutoff, or “tax day,” frequently falls on April 15th. Except this year, which puts a new wrinkle to tax day that allows most taxpayers a few extra days to pay. For those individuals who have yet to file or think about their taxes, enjoy the few extra days, but don’t continue to put it off and risk missing the deadline. And most importantly, don’t forget to file. Failing to file opens the door to a multitude of complications. Contact a Sacramento tax lawyer if you have tax audit or tax return concerns.

When Am I Required to File and Pay My Federal Taxes for the 2015 Tax Year?

In previous years, tax filing day occurred on April 15th. However, this year, due to quirks in the calendar, the filing date has been pushed back to April 18th for most individuals. Tax Day now falls on a federal holiday recognized by Washington D.C. as Emancipation Day. This holiday takes place on a Friday; since tax day can’t fall on a weekend, the Friday holiday actually results in an additional three days to file your taxes, which pushes the filing date to Monday, April 18, 2016.

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What Do I Need to Report on My Tax Filing?

Everyone’s tax filing is different, so there is no checklist of forms and items that you must include on your taxes. That being said, there is a list of general tax filing guidelines we can consider. First, any and all income you received during the 2015 tax year should appear on your return. This may include a W-2 received for working as an employee of a company. The income could also include 1099 income received while working as a contractor or other forms of self-employment income.

One should note that income is not just derived through work. If you have investments, you may also receive a 1099-DIV detailing dividend income you received or a 1099-INT listing the interest income you received. Additionally, if you had a debt that was cancelled or forgiven in the past year that was greater than $600, you probably received a 1099-C. The information on the 1099-C must be reported and typically constitutes taxable income unless an exception applies.

What Happens if You Fail to File Taxes?

Failing to file taxes is a situation that a taxpayer should always avoid. To start, most taxpayers have an obligation to file because the gross income thresholds that give rise to the duty to file are extremely modest. From that duty to file, it is imperative to understand that the only way you can obtain your tax refund is to file taxes. If you fail to file, any refund to which you would otherwise be entitled will go unclaimed.

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However, the incentives to file also come in the form of potential punishments and exposure to a tax audit. If you fail to file your taxes, a “failure to file” penalty will apply. If you also owed money on your taxes, a “failure to pay” penalty will also apply. Furthermore, since the IRS engages in form-matching and your employer files a copy of W-2s and 1099s with the IRS, your failure to file is easy for the IRS to detect. And while most tax matters are subject to a three-to-six-year statute of limitations, the statute begins to run when you file taxes. Therefore, if you fail to file, you face a theoretically open-ended liability period for the unfiled taxes.

Work with Our California Tax Attorneys

If you have tax concerns, a Sacramento tax attorney of the NewPoint Law Group can help. We are a full-service law firm that can assist with an array of inquiries into tax, tax filing, and other needs. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our legal team, call 1-800-358-0305 today or contact us online.