For regular citizens, the fiscal cliff deal brings lots of changes to how our taxes will be calculated.
Where To File
Send your federal tax return to the Internal Revenue Service Center for the place where you currently reside. For example, if you are stationed in Maine but your permanent home address is in California, you should send your federal return to the service center for Maine. The instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ give the addresses for the service centers.
If you are overseas and have an APO or FPO address, file your return with:
Internal Revenue Service Center
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0215
When to File
For 2013 tax returns, the due date for filing is April 15, 2014.
Note: For Combat Zone/Qualified Hazard Duty Area extensions, see below.
Within the United States. You can receive an automatic four-month extension to file your return if by the regular due date you do any of the following.
The extension of time to file is automatic, and you will not receive any notice of approval. However, your request for an extension will be denied if it is not made timely. The IRS will inform you of the denial.
You can request an extension beyond the fou-month extension by filing Form 2688 or by writing a letter to the IRS. Except in undue hardship cases, this additional extension will be granted only if Form 4868 has already been filed.
Outside the United States. If you are stationed overseas, you can qualify for an automatic extension until June 15 without filing Form 4868 if you are on an assigned tour of duty outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico for a period that includes the entire due date of the return. If you use this automatic extension, you must attach a statement to the return showing you met the requirement. You can request an additional two-month extension to file by June 17, 2013 by filing a paper Form 4868 by April 15, 2013. Write "Taxpayer Abroad" across the top of Form 4868.
You can request an extension beyond the four-month extension by filing Form 2688 or by writing a letter to the IRS. Except in undue hardship cases, this additional extension will be granted only if Form 4868 has already been filed.
Payment of Tax
An extension of time to file does not mean you have an extension of time to pay any tax due. While you do not have to send in any payment of tax due when you file Form 4868 or use an automatic extension, you will be charged interest if you pay the tax after the regular due date (the interest is calculated from the regular due date to the date the tax is paid). You also may be charged a penalty for paying the tax late unless you have reasonable cause for not paying your tax when due. So, when you file for an extension you should also estimate your tax due and pay by the April 15 deadline.
If you are unable to pay the tax your owe or estimate, you may want to file Form 9465 to arrange an installment payment agreement with the IRS that reflects your ability to pay the tax owed.
Combat Zone/Qualified Hazard Duty Area Extensions
If you serve in the Armed Forces in a designated Combat Zone or Qualified Hazard Duty Area or have qualifying service outside a Combat Zone/Qualified Hazard Duty Area, you automatically receive a 180-day extension for filing tax returns, paying taxes, filing claims for refunds, and taking other actions with the IRS.
Additionally, if you are deployed overseas away from your permanent duty station in support of operations in a qualified hazardous duty area, but outside the qualified hazardous duty area, you also receive these extensions (but not other combat zone benefits). The deadline for IRS to take certain actions, such as collection and examination actions, is also extended.
Your deadline is extended for 180 days after the later of:
With tax season in full swing, you should take note of the many deductions and credits available to you because of your military service; whether on active duty or on reserve.
Although going back to school can be a pricey venture, military servicemen and women should keep in mind that their military status makes them eligible for certain education benefits.
Let's face it -- the American tax system isn't known for its simplicity. And the confusion factor just climbs higher when you lived or worked in more than one state during the year.