If there’s one way that Black folks shatter the stereotype of being late, it’s by filing their taxes early in order to get the money the government rightfully owes them as soon as possible. But while getting tax refunds early has become an unofficial holiday of sorts for Black people (and everyone, truthfully), there are still stragglers who postpone filing their taxes until the eleventh hour, which many times can mean the deadline is missed.
With so much anger and frustration at a) not being able to understand the intentionally confusing way the tax code is written; b) not being able to afford to pay to have your taxes done; and/or c) the fact that President Donald Trump has managed to finesse said tax code to benefit mostly people who are melanin-challenged, the average taxpayer of color coming face-to-face with the April 17 filing deadline could be forgiven for considering further delaying it, or not filing at all – just not by the federal government.
As they say, the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. With the steady parade of Black folks marching to prison for not paying their taxes, here are some incentives to not becoming another statistic.Big Brother, er, we mean the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even released a nifty little PSA that just happened to be starring a Black guy and underscores the points that are about to be made.
First off, just know that not filing taxes on time can cost the average taxpayer more than actually not paying your taxes, according to the IRS.
“The failure-to-file penalty is generally more than the failure-to-pay penalty”, the IRS warned on its website. “The penalty for filing late is normally 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. That penalty starts accruing the day after the tax filing due date and will not exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.”
Still shrugging? Don’t.
“If you do not pay your taxes by the tax deadline, you normally will face a failure-to-pay penalty of ½ of 1 percent of your unpaid taxes,” the IRS added. “That penalty applies for each month or part of a month after the due date and starts accruing the day after the tax-filing due date.”
That means not only will a late tax filer will end up owing the government regardless, those penalties will stack up quicker than expected and could become a lasting financial burden – until the IRS come knocking on your door to collect. And they will come to collect.
Still, the IRS wants you to know they’re not just turning you upside down and shaking all the loose change out of your pockets. They have a heart. “The IRS will work with you,” it has assured taxpayers.
There is still time to file an extension, but the taxpayer is expected to submit “at least 90 percent of the taxes you owe with your request.” Gee, thanks.
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