Five things to know about Tax Day

Monday, April 14, 2014 | 12:08 p.m. CDT

Are you ready for Tax Day? The deadline for filing taxes or an extension is Tuesday. The downtown Columbia post office and the Bernadette Drive location are open until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

1. When do I have to file?

Tuesday, April 15, is the day when individual income tax returns are due to the federal government The taxes must be postmarked by this date. U.S. residents must inform the IRS of their personal income from the previous fiscal year.

2. How do I file?

Individuals can either find a professional preparer, fill out a paper form, or submit their tax returns using Free File — a free electronic filling service provided by the IRS.

3. What if I can’t file by April 15?

  • With only a day until the deadline, the best option is to electronically file form 4868 — Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
  • Individuals can also request an automatic extension of time to file their income tax returns by paying all or part or their entire estimated income tax due by credit card or debit card or by using Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
  • Filing this form gives taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file a return.
  • Note that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.

4. Does everyone need to file an income tax return?

5. What is the history of Tax Day?

  • According to the Library of Congress, Income tax in the U.S. originated in 1861 to fund the Civil War. However, this tax was repealed in 1872 and the constitutionality of an income tax remained unclear until 1913, when the 16th Amendment was ratified, giving Congress the legal authority to levy a tax on all incomes without apportioning it among the states.
  • In 1913, the income tax filing date was March 1. It was moved to March 15 in 1918, and was eventually moved to the current date of April 15 in 1955. If April 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday (Patriots’ Day), the filing deadline will be moved to the next working day.

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