Extension Filers: Tips for Those Self-Employed for the First Time

Start a Business in 2009?

Either because they lost a job, or because they needed to make extra money, many people became self-employed for the first time in 2009. When the tax filing deadline rolled around in April of 2010, many of these first timers weren’t ready to file.

Filing your taxes can be complex enough when you just have a W-2 from a job to deal with. Throw in some 1099s, cash income, business expenses, and you really have a difficult tax return on your hands. Because of these complexities many filers chose to estimate their taxes due, pay them, and then extend the actual filing of the 2009 tax return using Form 4868.

Tax Extension Rules

The people who filed that extension gave themselves 6 more months, until October 15, 2010, to gather up their 2009 information and complete the tax return. Notice I didn’t say they could extend the payment. They should have still paid the 2009 tax bill when they filed the extension Form 4868.

If you haven’t yet made an estimated payment, then you are currently being charged interest and possibly penalties if your 2009 return ends up showing that you owed taxes. And hopefully your new small business did well enough to owe some taxes.

Keep in mind that even if you did make an estimated payment and underpaid by more than 10%, you could face interest and penalties. As a general rule, it’s good to get your 2009 return completed as soon as possible. Even if you extend you don’t have to wait until October 15th. You can file them now.

Forms Needed to File Your Extended Return

As long as you properly extended your return, there is not that much of a difference in filing your 2009 return in September or October of 2010 vs filing it back in April of 2010. You can still use many of the free or premium tax filing services that were available back in April. Break out a handy tax preparation checklist to make sure you have everything and then get started.

No special forms will be required when filing your extended return. However, when you are on page 2 of the Form 1040, you will see line 68 which says “Amount paid with request for extension to file”. This is where you will put the amount that you paid when you filed Form 4868. It’s very important to complete this so that you get credit for the payment you’ve already made.

If your new business is a simple sole proprietorship, you should be able to file everything on the Form 1040 using the Schedule C or C-EZ. Your business profit or loss gets passed from the Schedule C to the Form 1040 page 1 on line 12. If you took the steps to create a new tax entity (Partnership, “S” Corporation, or “C” Corporation) for your business in 2009, then you will have to consider additional returns beyond the Form 1040 to file your taxes. Generally speaking, partnerships will need to file a Form 1065, “S” Corporations a Form 1120-S, and “C” Corporations a Form 1120.

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