The “Immaculate Extension”, I am still in a football frame of mind. After all, it was last month that the Super Bowl was played. So pardon me for using a pigskin metaphor, but the first thing I thought of when I recently learned that the Internal Revenue Service had extended the deadline for tax filing and tax payments for millions of Americans was The “Immaculate Extension” – the famous last-second catch just over 50 years ago by the late Franco Harris – the catch that led the Pittsburgh Stealers to their first playoff win, a triumph over the Oakland Raiders.
Indeed, for folks racing around trying to get their tax paperwork together and meet the filing deadline, the decision to make taxes not due until October 16 for most folks in California and for many others elsewhere in the United States was an 11th hour miracle. Previously, the IRS had extended the deadline to May 15, but after another extension, it is now October 16. The California Franchise Tax Board has followed suit and extended the deadline also.
I am not a tax attorney or an accountant. But in divorce cases, how people who are still married but going through a dissolution file their taxes can be quite important. You will need to talk to a CPA or other accountant, but whether one files jointly, separately, or maybe some other way can affect how much money is left over. This, in turn, can affect spousal and child support obligations.
The extension by the IRS (and FTB) was based on areas declared disaster zones by FEMA. Accordingly, as many as 90 percent of Californians qualify for the extension because the rainfall has made much, if not most, of California a disaster. The FEMA disaster designations include San Diego County. Moreover, the extension affects not just when the annual tax returns are due but when quarterly payments must be made as well.
In California, it is well settled that judges cannot make people file jointly, although some parties going through a divorce will agree to do so in writing before their taxes are due. For those involved in an argument over taxes, there now is a little more time to haggle. Everyone can take a deep breath, knowing that the deadline has been extended. Again, to take advantage of this last-second ruling, you must reside in an area that has been declared a disaster. Check your local listings to see if you qualify for The “Immaculate Extension”.
The bad news, I guess, is that people expecting a refund might now take longer to file their returns, only delaying the time when they get that deposit or check from Uncle Sam. But for most people, the extension so deep into tax season provides a lot of tax planning flexibility and who can complain about that?