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Editorial: Tax deadline upon us

Procrastinators who have been putting off filing their taxes are up against the wall as the deadline for doing so is today.

Some post offices typically stay open late to accommodate last-minute filers, but it is a good idea to check with your local post office to see if it is one of the ones doing that, if you need the time.

For those who just won't be able to complete their taxes today, extensions are available at both the state and federal level, but there are some hoops you have to jump through in order to take advantage of the six-month extension. First, it is the government, after all, so there is going to be a form to fill out requesting an extension. Those forms, as well as additional information on filing for an extension, are available at both the federal IRS website and the state website.

Extensions also don't allow you six extra months to round up any money you may happen to owe. Those requesting extensions are still expected to pay their tax bill today. The difference is that you can send in what you estimate you owe. And yes, there are forms that will help you figure out how much you probably owe. It is the government, after all.

About 219,000 tax filers in Maryland will likely be filing for an extension, according to a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. Reasons for requesting an extension vary, from trouble getting the forms or necessary paperwork from others to simply just putting it off until a little too late.

If you've found yourself running behind through no fault of your own, chances are that you'll be back on track next year. But if your tardiness in filing is due to something you can control, you might want to consider changes to make tax season go a little more easily next year. Accumulating tax-related information in a folder throughout the year can make everything much easier when tax time rolls around again. If your situation is more complex, you might want to consider contacting a tax accountant, who can probably highlight ways to make the tax season go a little more smoothly. But in any case, start making the changes now to avoid getting into a similar situation next year.

But first things first. Time is ticking away, and the deadline for filing this year is upon us. Better hurry to get to the post office before it closes.

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