You know it's tax season, right? It's tax season! That is to say, it's the very end of tax season and your 2012 U.S. income tax filings are due to the IRS Monday. (If you're using the U.S. mail, they need only be postmarked by that date. If you're e-filing, you're e-filing, no postmark necessary.) So, where are you with your taxes? Take a moment's break, or a moment to pat yourself on the back, and read this mini-investigation of tax-doing strategies.
Wait, What? This means you only just realized that you had taxes to do, by reading this post, or when someone in line at the grocery store grunted and said, "Ugh, taxes!" and you thought to yourself, taxes? Whatever does the word mean? Then you went home, or to wherever it is that you stay, and Googled the word, finding out far too many things in the process. You have probably recently time traveled to America in the year 2013 from Victorian-era London or Ancient Rome or the Mesolithic era, or perhaps you are an alien. Suggestion: Travel back when the IRS starts sending you demanding notes.
The Daredevil. One of our own at the Atlantic Wire is the hybrid-procrastinator type who's done his taxes, but simply hasn't finished them yet. The finishing part is perhaps the easiest, and you'll get around to it, you will, but you simply haven't yet. It's sort of like painting the entire Sistine Chapel except for God's finger and then, in a rush at the very last minute, finishing everything only to realize that God's finger and Jesus's don't touch (but you did that on purpose, right, Michelangelo?). Oh, the adrenalin! Anyway, our Matt Sullivan says, "I am so lazy about my taxes that I hired an accountant to do them but am still too lazy to fax them my e-file authorization, which takes 10 seconds." Suggestion: You'll be fine.
The "Rebel." Taxes? You scoff in the face of taxes. You haven't paid 'em in, like, a year. You think Americans shouldn't have to pay taxes, in fact. You don't drive on highways. You don't use social programs. You believe in living a government-free life. You might move to another country, or into the woods—at least, you're always talking about it. You complain and moan and groan but in the end you send your paperwork to the IRS and you pay what's due or you accept your refund and deposit it into your bank account and use it to buy stock in mutual funds. Or, maybe you are a bona-fide tax dodger. Suggestion: Moving's easy, it's the living that's hard.
The Person Who Legitimately Doesn't Have to File Taxes. This weekend and Monday you are the luckiest person in the whole darn world. The rest of the time, you are a student, or a dependent, or someone who may be struggling to make more but who simply doesn't make enough money to pay taxes, or maybe someone who is paid under the table and is not going to report all earnings. This is you if you are single and made less than $9,750 in 2012. Suggestion: Check the "special cases" that mean you do actually have to file.
Just a Guy or Girl Looking at the IRS and Asking Them to Love Him or Her. You did your taxes, oh, maybe two weeks ago. You haven't gotten a refund back, yet, but you probably will soon. You didn't even lie on your taxes, and you will never be audited (unless you are). Suggestion: You got it covered.
The Overachiever. You've already done your taxes, of course you have. You made an appointment with your guy or lady back in November, to get the cheaper session before March, and you went in February and you've already gotten your refund, for both federal and state, and you've stashed them away and are watching the interest accrue already, yum yum. Suggestion: Share this only with people who are also overachievers.
The Overachiever Whose Money Burns a Hole in Her Pocket. Not only have you done your taxes (like, two months ago or more, dude), you've also already gotten your refund and you've spent it. For you, tax season 2013 is a faint memory, but you really do like your new shoes a lot. Suggestion: Admire your shoes.
The Extender. There's still time! The tax deadline for extended returns this year is October 15, 2013. You can file Form 4868 to get an automatic extension. However, you're still supposed to pay what you owe by April 15 (which is sort of the problem, sometimes). That said, if you don't pay and you extend, you'll be subject to penalties and interest, but there aren't going to be IRS people knocking on your door, just yet. Suggestion: If you haven't addressed your taxes by Monday afternoon, this might be your best bet.
Insets via Flickr/chuck holton; Flickr/James Morris; Flickr/Salem (MA) Public Library.