At the time of writing this, I am procrastinating doing my taxes and am considering getting a tax extension.

The good news is, I have a super simple accounting method I use, so it won’t be really hard when I need to do it.

That spreadsheet has saved me hours of headaches in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

I could knock out my taxes this Saturday if I really want to.

Even still, I find myself wondering…is it worth getting a tax extension? What if I file the extension and then just do my taxes on time anyway?

I got one last year, and it seemed to work out well for me. Maybe there are some downsides I don’t know about.

I thought I should do some research.

You might need to know, too. This is what I found:

The Penalty

If you end up owing the IRS money, you will face a penalty for filing late, and a penalty for paying late, even with the proper tax extension form.

Or maybe you won’t pay the filing late fee if you get an extension.

To be honest, all of the articles I read weren’t clear on that.

Some say you get charged the late filing fee for not filing an extension, some say you get charged it even if you do file the extension.

Let’s err on the side of safety and assume we’re going to get the maximum charge.

The penalty is a 5% charge per month you are late paying. Luckily, this is capped at a maximum penalty of 25%. That’s still a lot of money, and probably why I owed so much last year when I filed in October!

Aside from that late fee, you have to pay interest. Currently, the IRS interest rate for underpayments is 3% annually.

However, if you’re an employee of a company and you’ve been paying your taxes with every paycheck, you should be getting money back.

Gee, it seems like the government almost doesn’t want to give you your money back, but will chase you down like the mafia if you owe them.

(Have I made it clear in this post and my last post that I really hate the government taking my money?)

You can file late, but still have to pay on time.

I want to make sure I make it clear: there are two penalty fees mentioned above.

One is for filing late, one is for paying late.

These are two separate fees and will still be incurred whether you file a tax extension or not (at least, that’s how I interpreted it).

On Form 4868 you will see that there is an option to pay some money now.

It’s a good idea to pay as much as you can towards your taxes (if you think you will owe).

This should keep them off your back long enough to get your shit together.

How to Apply for a Tax Extension:

Applying for an extension is really simple if you’re already using a service like HR Block or TurboTax.

Just log in and do it through their systems.

If you’re not you can download Form 4868, fill it out and send it in. All of the instructions are on the form.

I’ve been using TurboTax and HR Block since I was 18, alternating between the two based on what I need.

I heard there’s a new online HR Block service where you just send them info and then they call you with questions if they have any. Then they do the rest.

I’m going to check that out and if it works out for me, I will let you know.

Can your Extension be denied?

It can, but for that to happen you’d have to have really messed it up.

As long as you fill out and file the form on time (on or before tax day, usually April 15th), you won’t be denied.

Do make sure to keep copies of everything. I wouldn’t put it past the IRS to come after you and say you were late.

I bet they’d do worse things.

Does filing a tax extension increase your chances of being audited?

I seriously doubt it.

I know I haven’t been very nice to them in this post but I will give them this one thing.

There is no evidence that indicates you will be more likely to be audited if you file an extension.

My personal opinion is that you should do as much as possible to keep the IRS off your back.

Filing an extension and paying as much as you can by April 15th will keep you lower on, if not entirely off of, their radar.

Most experts in the articles I read said that if you’re making an obvious effort then the IRS will most likely leave you alone.

But also that filing an extension is not enough, as itself, to be the only thing that causes you to get audited.

If you’re going to get audited, there’s more going on with your account than just a tax extension.

How long does a tax extension last for?

Tax extensions used to end some time in August, and then you could file for a second one that would push you till October.

Now, they just go until October.

Most years, the date is October 15.

Can you file a second tax extension?

Yes, sort of!

The only way to get a second tax extension is if you apply to one (or more) of these circumstances:

I included links to more information on each situation because based on my brief little bullet points you can’t figure out if you actually do qualify or not.

Check them out if you think you might be one of those people.

Or, you know, just do your taxes on time.

What if you can’t pay your taxes?

My dude, I don’t even want to tell you about my situation here.

The IRS has a payment program you can sign up for. It’s pretty great and I have used it twice.

Because I need to be better with my money.

If you’re using a service like HR Block or TurboTax, they should have that option when you file your taxes. I know TurboTax does but I’m not sure about HR Block.

If you don’t use services like those, you’ll have to get your instructions from the IRS website.

I’m not going to retype them all up here for you.

God have mercy on your bank account.

Hope that helps!

I hate math. A lot.

But, since I live in a capitalist society that requires me to make an income, I like keeping track of my money to make sure I’m spending it in the right places.

Also, the legal mafia government says I have to pay them protection money a portion of my income as taxes every so often. To make that as easy as possible, I put together this awesome spreadsheet and accounting method.

I call it the “E Z Accounting” method, and I’m going to show it to you today, in this blog post.

Please note that I am not an accountant or anything like that and if you use anything I teach you here, I am not responsible. 

I am simply showing you what I do and what works for me. You can and should adjust to make it work for you and what you need.

You should always consult with a licensed accountant for anything important.

Download the free spreadsheet:

First, you need to get the spreadsheet. Put in your email below and I’ll have it emailed to you.

It’s a Google Spreadsheet but you can download any format you like by going to “File” and “Download as”.

Or click “Make a copy…” if you want to use it in your own Google Drive account, like I do.

Start filling out the spreadsheet:

Now that you’ve got it downloaded, you can start filling out the spreadsheet.

It’s probably not hard to figure out on your own, but I put together a quick and easy guide. It’s the rest of this post. I even made pictures!

Maybe I’ll make a video, too.

I threw some example stuff in before taking the screenshots below. We’ll take a look at it closer underneath the image.

Let’s take a look at each column.

  • Date – I shouldn’t have to explain this one to you.
  • Item – This is the item that either came in or went out.
  • Location – This is where the money went or came from.
  • Income – If the item is income, you put it here.
  • Expense – If the item was an expense, you put it here (don’t forget to put a “-” in front of it).

I filled out two example items to show how the spreadsheet works. We’ve got an income and an outcome expense.

As you can see in the image, we spent $300 on tax services this month, but received $3000 from a client payment. Woohoo!

Note that these are not real. They’re just an example.

Down at the bottom is a Total line, which will have Total for Income, Total for Expenses, and then to the right of that (squared in blue in the image) is the difference.

So far this month, we are looking good with $2700 in profit. That’ll cover rent, at least.

This math is automatically filled out if you don’t mess up the spreadsheet you downloaded. The one I put a lot of work into. Please don’t mess it up.

If you do mess it up, just download a new one. Or shoot me an email.

Let’s also look at the Year To Date tab:

The Year to Date tab, or 2018 YTD, is basically a brief overview. It looks like this:

You’ll need to change this every year as the years change, in a new spreadsheet (don’t overwrite your old ones…keep them!).

As you can see, the month of April has already started filling out.

That’s because I set it up to take from the April tab (and all other months) and input the totals.

We also have a Total line for the whole year. I like being able to quickly take a quick glance and see where I’m at for the year.

In the future, I may add quarterly totals as separate lines. If I do, I’ll be sure to send an email out letting you know.

Below that we have a few categories of items. You can change these and add to or remove from the list.

The categories do not fill themselves out. They are just there for me to keep track when it comes tax time, and you can do the same.

I’d like to figure out how to automate that part in the future, too. I have some ideas but need to work out the kinks. Again, if I make any major changes to the spreadsheet I will let you know. Especially if they’re big new features.

Questions? Comments?

Contact me.

Hope this helps!

A couple years ago I had a cool job working for a small marketing firm. I was up at the top; just one position below the CEO. I was in charge of all marketing projects: both ours and our clients.

Unfortunately, that company didn’t work out. That’s another story for another time.

I was making good money and I was stupid with most of it, so I didn’t have a lot saved up. Not to mention, the CEO owed me $2000 that I never ended up seeing.

I was terrified and started taking on any project I could get my hands on. I was barely scraping by.

Luckily, I had a rainy day fund.

A year prior I had heard about this easy investing app called Acorns. I set it up to automatically deposit money into the account every month.

From there it just grew and grew.

Then, when I needed it, I was able to withdrawal with no penalties. I had even profited a little over $100, which was about 10% growth. Not bad.

Get started with $5 for free

If you sign up through my referral link (below), Acorns will give us each $5. That’s $5 for you to get started, plus $5 for me, to keep sending you content like this.

Then, if you set up an account and refer someone, you get $5 for every referral you make, plus they will get $5 to get started.

Here’s how to get your free money:

Step 1: Get an Acorns Account

If you already have one, skip this step.

Click here to sign up for an account through my referral link.

Step 2: Find your referral link

Once you’re logged in, there’s a link in the left side navigation. Click that and it will take you to a page with your referral link.

Step 3: Share the referral link

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Text message everyone you know who might be interested and just ask if they’re interested. Don’t send the link yet. Just say something like “Hey, we’ve discussed getting started in investing before but we didn’t know how to do it. If I found a way to easily get started investing, would you be interested?” When they say yes, send them back something like “This app does all the heavy lifting for us, and it only costs $1 per month. Plus they’ll give us each $5 for free if you sign up through my link: [your referral link]”. If they say no, just thank them for their time and don’t bring it up again.
  2. Repeat this process on Facebook.
  3. Repeat this process on Twitter.
  4. If you have a mailing list, send out an email like this one to your subscribers.
  5. Repeat this process anywhere else you can think of where you interact with people regularly.

It’s not a multi-level marketing scheme. It’s just a referral bonus. Plus, it’s money going into your investment account. Watch it grow.

And let’s not forget the real reason we’re here: to grow our revenue. Don’t forget to check out Acorns’ other features such as auto-round up and recurring investments. Set your investment on autopilot.

What is Acorns?

Acorns is a “micro-investing” app that basically sets up an investment portfolio for you on auto-pilot. You can set it up to start growing your wealth and never touch it again until you’re ready to withdrawal (which you can do at any time). Every dollar you invest is automatically diversified across 7,000 stocks and bonds to help improve your return while reducing risk.

It only costs $1/month until you have over $5000, then it’s just 0.25% per year. At that point, it’s so far less than what you’re making in interest you won’t even notice it.

I invested a lot into this a couple years ago and when I needed it, I was able to withdrawal and use the money immediately. Now, I’m back in a position that I’m investing again.

Things to keep in mind about investing:

  • It goes up and down over time…don’t stress about it.
  • The longer you keep it in there, the more of a chance you have of making a return on your investment.
  • Average of 10 years is usually around 11%+ (last I read)
  • According to President Donald Trump’s Twitter (take that as you will/politics aside), the stock market is just getting better and better. Now’s the time to invest.

Click here to sign up for an account through my referral link.