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What to do if you can't make the midnight tax deadline

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Even with three extra days for tax preparation, what if making Monday night's midnight deadline is just not going to happen? Don't panic, you do have options. (KGO-TV)

Even with three extra days for tax preparation, what if making Monday night's midnight deadline is just not going to happen? Don't panic, you do have options.

With more than 150 million Americans rushing to get their federal taxes filed by April 18, a number of us -- and you know who you are -- just aren't even close to being ready.

"The question is -- what happens if you miss the deadline? And the answer is don't," said H&R Block senior tax advisor Richard Gartland.

What you should do is file something. In some cases, that'll be a return. In others, an extension.

"The penalties for non-filing or late filing are far greater than the penalties for late payment," said Gartland.

Filing a return is your best option.

If you owe money, pay as much as you can.

And if you simply don't have the means, ask about an installment plan.

Contact the IRS right away to discuss your options. They'll work with you, especially if there are mitigating circumstances such as personal or family hardships.

If you can't file that return, you'll need to ask for more time. And asking for an extension will buy you six months.

But one huge caveat is an extension only extends the time to file. It does not extend the time to pay.

And if you're one of the lucky ones expecting a refund this year, you have to file in order to get it.

"The IRS will not send you money unless you ask them for it," Gartland said.

With that in mind, the IRS is sitting on about $1 billion in unclaimed refunds.

Taxpayers have three years from the time the tax is due to claim one.

So April 18, 2016 is the last day taxpayers can receive a refund from the 2012 tax year.

For those folks who won't be submitting a return online -- here are the four Bay Area post offices still open -- the main post offices in San Jose and Oakland are open until 8 p.m. San Francisco's processing center on Evans Avenue is open unlit 8:30 p.m. And the mail center at SFO is open until 10 p.m. It is the only one with curbside drop-off.

Click here for more stories and videos from 7 On Your Side.

Related Topics:
finance7 On Your SidetaxesIRSconsumerconsumer concerns
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