April 15 not much of a deadline for most taxpayers

YONKERS - The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Don't fret. If you're due a refund, April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.

The Internal Revenue Service doesn't like to talk about it, but penalties for filing late federal tax returns apply only to people who owe money. The penalty is a percentage of what you owe. If you owe nothing, 5 percent of nothing is ...nothing.

Tax experts say people expecting a refund tend to file early, but the folks who owe money to the Internal Revenue Service tend to push it off. Workers at one local Jackson-Hewitt tax service office tell News 12 it's always best to file early. "If you kind of wait until the last minute, sometimes you're rushing and there may be the possibility that not everything is accurate," tax preparer Deborah DeCrescenzo.

DeCrescenzo says not to panic if you owe money and haven't filed yet. She says you can file for an extension and the IRS is willing to work with you. She cautions that the longer you wait, the more it will cost to settle your tax account since the late fees add up quickly.

The IRS says about three-fourths of filers get refunds.

Procrastinators have until midnight to file. Most post offices across the Hudson Valley will be open until 6 p.m. with some branches staying open later.

AP wires were used in this report.

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