As expected, legislation has been introduced that would extend the due date for electronically filing an individual tax return from April 15 to April 30. For years, the IRS has been pushing electronic filing and this is seen as adding one more incentive for more taxpayers to do so.
The New York State Society of CPAs has come out in opposition to the legislation. One of its reasons for opposing this is the fact that unless all the states agree to change their April 15 deadlines to coincide with the federal changes, taxpayers and practitioners will not gain any advantage because most state filings use information from the federal return.
I, too, am opposed to such legislation. I think two due dates for a return, based on the filing method, only adds unnecessary confusion and encourages procrastination. Both will not make any tax practitioner's professional life easier.
However, I have a solution that can keep the April 15 due date for all individual income tax returns. Consider this, don't some airlines give you a percent discount if you buy electronic tickets online? In fact, I have seen some Broadway theatres charge a surcharge if you buy tickets at their box offices.
My idea is to charge for the paper filing of a 1040. It could be $50. Or better yet, why not go by the type of return and the number of schedules and attachments? It could be $50 for a 1040A and $100 for a 1040 plus $20 for every schedule. The IRS could also add a $75 surcharge if there is a refund due the taxpayer and he or she wants a check mailed to them.
It might hurt instituting these monetary penalties, but taxpayers will surely understand and there will be a substantial jump in electronic filing. Will it make taxpayers and tax practitioners happier? No! But's that's not what's important, right?
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