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Simple tax advice for filing late

Monday - 4/16/2012, 6:31am  ET

taxes.jpg
This image shows the first part of the new tax extension form for an undue harship. The form is available online. (Courtesy of IRS)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The clock is ticking toward the midnight tax filing deadline. But, if you haven't done your taxes yet or a complication has arisen, don't panic.

Just file an extension.

"Rather than stressing to make sure you get it in on time and make mistakes, file an extension," says Eva Rosenberg, known on the Internet as TaxMama.

Rosenberg advises using form 4868 for your personal extension, and it can all be done online. She says to include some estimate of what you owe and suggests if you can't pay all of it, just send the IRS the extension and at least $50.

If a return or extension request isn't filed, there could be fines up to 5 percent a month until the balance is paid. An extension penalty is a 1/2 percent per month for anything unpaid.

New this year, taxpayers can file a form 1127A which allows those who meet strict criteria to avoid paying for six months.

Most of these tax-related tasks can be done online.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)