WASHINGTON (AP) - The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Don't fret. If you're due a refund, April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.
The Internal Revenue Service doesn't like to talk about it, but penalties for filing late federal tax returns apply only to people who owe money. The penalty is a percentage of what you owe. If you owe nothing, 5 percent of nothing is ...nothing.
But it doesn't make much sense for anyone to file late. If you are owed a refund, why wouldn't you want it as soon as possible? And if you have unpaid taxes, the late fees add up quickly.
The IRS says about three-fourths of filers get refunds.
Hang onto those supporting documents for your tax return
Now that the tax filing deadline is here, it's time to focus on all those documents that support your return.
Keep copies of your returns forever. They can help when you apply for a mortgage or disability insurance or need the value of your assets. To save space, you can scan the returns and keep a digital archive.
Also save your canceled checks, receipts for home purchase costs, home improvements, and statements for credit-card and bank accounts, your home mortgage, stocks and mutual funds.
The IRS could audit you for up to three years, so keep those documents for at least that long.