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Tax day deadline: Who gets penalized and how to get an extension

April 15 is tax day, which brings with it the annual scramble to file returns in time.

But unless you owe money to Uncle Sam, procrastinators can breathe a sigh of relief.

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Only those who are due to pay the Internal Revenue Service are penalized for missing the deadline, while the approximately 75% of filers who get refunds can turn in their paperwork after Tuesday with no penalty.

The costs of dawdling for those who owe even a little money to the government can be steep.

For failing to file on time, a monthly penalty of 5% is levied on the unpaid balance. That is generally capped at 25% of the original tax payment. Then there is the interest charged against the tax bill, and an additional penalty for failing to pay that sum in a timely manner (which is separate from the filing penalty).

Taxpayers who need extra time to get their papers in order can get an extra six months by filling out IRS Form 4868 by April 15.

To get the extension, filers must estimate their tax liability and can pay the estimated tax bill, Taxpayers get an extension until Oct. 15.

The IRS predicts that about 12 million taxpayers will request an extension by the deadline.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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