Psst. Tax deadline not much of a deadline for most

Associated PressApril 15, 2013 

  • By the numbers

    • Number of lobbyists registered to lobby Congress on taxes: 6,503

    • Number of organizations that pay lobbyists to lobby Congress on taxes: 2,221

    • Value of tax breaks enjoyed by corporations in 2011, as measured by the Government Accountability Office: $181 billion

    • Amount of corporate income tax revenue collected in 2011: $181 billion

    Through April 5:

    • Returns filed so far: 96.6 million

    • Share of taxpayers getting a refund: 81 percent

    • Total amount of refunds issued so far: $214 billion

    • Average refund: $2,755

    • Average refund in 2012: $2,794

    • Returns filed electronically: 89 percent

    As of March 9:

    • The IRS detected 220,821 fraudulent returns.

    • Number of fraudulent returns involving identity theft: 85,385

    • Amount of fraudulent refunds stopped by the IRS: $1.8 billion

    Sources: IRS, Pew Research Center, Treasury inspector general for tax administration, Sunlight Foundation

— Didn’t get your tax return filed by Monday’s deadline? Breathe easier: The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t like to talk about it, but as long as you don’t owe any additional taxes, there is no penalty for filing a few days late.

The late-filing penalty is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month – or part of a month – a return is late. That can add up quickly if you owe additional taxes. But what if the unpaid taxes are zero? Five percent of zero is … zero!

However, if you wait more than three years to file, you forfeit your refund. And, of course, if you’re getting a refund, you really shouldn’t have waited.

The IRS expects to process 149 million returns from individuals this year, including returns from people who file for six-month extensions. About a quarter of returns are usually filed in the last three weeks before the April 15 deadline. This year the IRS received more than 10 million electronically filed returns from Friday through Sunday.

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