April 16 is among my most favorite days of the year. Of course, for tax professionals, that’s the day after the last day of the tax season. Another tax season, my thirty-fourth, is in the books, so to speak. Over the years, I have developed a routine of sorts. I’m a fisherman that lives on the west bank of the Rogue River. I haven’t had the opportunity to fish since the tax season began. I do get to look at the Rogue every day and do think about fishing so one of my first stops is to purchase a fishing license. Now I can legally put on my waders and chase those elusive trout. As I’m looking out the window right now, it might be wise, however, to not step into the water this year. The water is high and fast; I’m slightly short and sixty years old; the river would win and I would probably stop rolling about where it intersects Rogue River Dr. I’m also a golfer that has been able to catch a few moments here and there of golf events on television like The Masters but hasn’t had the time to even hit a bucket of balls. So another part of my routine is to get out the golf clubs and make sure they have survived the winter. If it gets warm enough, I may go hit a few balls. Other years, my friends have been out playing for a few weeks now. This year, we will be starting on more of an even footing because the weather has been, to put it mildly, slightly lousy. We will be playing once the courses dry out that is.
Another something I will be adding to my routine is taking a ride to the local Cabelas store. If you like shopping at Cabelas, being able to say “local Cabelas” has a nice ring to it. Driving thirty minutes is certainly easier than driving the couple of hours to Dundee or to Hammond. I haven’t been to new store so I’m looking forward to taking in the Cabelas experience. Deb has also created quite a list of items she would like me to get started working on so one of my stops is always Pete’s Ace Hardware. Fertilizer and crabgrass killer have to be applied to the lawn. The watering hoses have to come out of storage and hooked up. Oak leaves that have accumulated since last fall need to be removed from flower beds so the crocus’ and tulips have room to jump up. Its’ harder physical work than working on tax returns but making room for flowers is very rewarding when those flowers bloom.
The final stop of the day is another new addition to my routine. If it’s not raining, tonight Deb and I plan to take a walk downtown to the Rockford Brewing Company for a tall, cool, craft brew. I have been waiting for this day since Brien, Seth, and Jeff opened a few months ago. That will be the end of a long but fruitful day and the beginning of a nice summer.
The day after the end of the tax season is important in a tax sense as well. All tax returns have a statute of limitations at which time the return is closed. For most tax returns, the statute of limitation is three years from the day the return was filed or two years from the time the tax associated with that return was paid, whichever comes later. If a return is filed during the tax season, on March 1 for example, the return was really due on April 15 so the statute of limitations for that return is still April 15. Filing early in the tax season does not shorten the statute of limitations. With four exceptions, the return is closed from action by the Internal Revenue Service and the taxpayer as well. On April 16, 2013, the IRS can’t ask you for more money on the returns considered filed on April 15, 2000 which would be for the 2009 tax year. That also means taxpayers can’t ask for a refund of tax paid for that 2009 tax year beyond April 15, 2013.
The four exceptions the IRS can use to extend the statute of limitations are: First, if there is fraud involved and the IRS can prove it, the statute of limitations can be extended. Second, the statute of limitations is three years from the filing date of the return so if the taxpayer files after April 15, the statute of limitations is also extended beyond April 15. Third, the IRS and the taxpayer, by mutual agreement, can agree to extend the statute of limitations. Finally, if the IRS can prove there was a substantial omission on the return, they can extend the statute of limitations. In the final analysis, it pays to just file the best, most accurate, return as possible. Well, I have a list of things to check off before I get to take that walk down to the Rockford Brewing Company. The sun is shining; my article is submitted to the Squire; the birds are signing; and its April 16. Life is good. This is Jerry Coon signing off.
Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent and a Registered Tax Return Preparer. He owns Action Tax Service on Northland Dr. in Rockford. Contact Jerry through his website: www.actiontaxservice.com