Tax Extension Filing Date This Thursday

What's the only thing worse than not paying your taxes? Not filing at all.

This Thursday, Oct. 15 is the final deadline for the whopping 11 million U.S. taxpayers who filed for an extension on their 2008 return. With the economy still down in the dumps, many folks haven't seen an anticipated improvement in their finances - consequently, some are opting to simply ignore the deadline and not file.

Here's why that's a mistake. You might be able to get away with ignoring your creditors for a while, but you can't ignore Uncle Sam. If you don't file, you're immediately going to start incurring fees - these late penalties can be up to one-quarter of your total obligation. Before you know it, your debts could be doubled or tripled. You may even face jail time.

But there's a simple - though maybe not ideal - way to avoid all that.

While it's true that the IRS is not the most understanding organization, they are more flexible than most people give them credit for. In most cases, you'll make your life easier by just being honest. File your return, paying only what you can afford - even if it's nothing at all.

If you're facing taxes you can't pay, let the IRS know your situation. If you owe under $25,000 you can probably work out an installment plan. If you owe more - or you've already incurred other tax debts - you can probably lower your penalties. In the meantime, try to find ways to cut back on expenses so you can pay your tax bill. One of the fastest ways to come up with extra cash is by reducing debts with interest - like credit card debt. Bankruptcy can be an efficient and affordable way to do it.

Conversely, you might owe taxes from previous years. If you've got a tax debt that's over three years old - and that you filed more than two years ago - you might be able to discharge it through bankruptcy. To learn more about how bankruptcy can help free you from your obligations - credit card, tax and otherwise - sign up for a free personal debt analysis with one of our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys today.

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