April 17th Marks the Tax Deadline! Have You Filed Your Return?

Senior Law News | Apr 13, 2018 | Hook Law Center

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 is the deadline for most taxpayers to file their federal income tax return and pay any tax liability that is owed. If you miss the deadline to file, you may be assessed penalties for failing to file and failing to pay your tax liability on time. The good news is that there is no penalty if you file a late tax return but are due a refund.

Don’t worry, if you have been procrastinating when it comes to preparing and filing your tax return this year. You may want to consider filing an extension. You may be asking what does the extension do? An extension is a formal way to request additional time from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to file your tax return. Filing an extension gives you an additional six months to file and prepare your individual tax return. The extension is done by filling out Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

By filing an extension, you can avoid a failure to file penalty which is equal to 5% per month (or partial month) of lateness to a maximum of 25%. If you file an extension, you are not filing late, unless you miss the six-month extended due date.

It is important to be aware that an extension of time to file your return does not grant you an extension of time to pay your taxes. Any tax that is due on your return must be paid by April 17th, 2018 in order to avoid penalties for failure to pay your tax liability on time.  The failure to pay penalty is a separate penalty from that of the failing to file penalty. The failure to pay penalty is the “gentler” of the two, running at 1/2% for each month (or part of a month) the payment is late. For example, if payment is due April 15 and is made May 20, the penalty is 1% (1/2% times 2 months (or partial months)). The maximum penalty is 25%.

If you have any questions or need to file an extension for your tax return, please do not hesitate to call our office at 757-399-7506.

Ask Kit Kat – Bathing Monkeys

Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, what can you tell us about the snow monkeys of Japan and how they like to bathe in hot springs?

Kit Kat: Well, this is quite a funny story! Japan has long been known for their snow monkeys, also known as macaques. One group of macaques lives in the north, near Nagano, the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Others of their species live even further north, so all are used to severe, cold weather. However, it is the group near Nagano which is the subject of this article. These macaques are very particular about where they will bathe. Though there are natural, hot springs in their area with water over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, they apparently find these too hot. They have come to prefer man-made pools which hover around the 104-Fahrenheit degree mark. It happened like this. Around 1963, a female macaque wandered into a hotel heated pool. At first hotel guests welcomed her and a couple of other macaques, finding it to be a novelty. As the number of macaques visiting the hotel increased, there were health concerns. So, a park was built exclusively for the macaques, so they could have their own spring-like hot pools, heated to their preferred temperature of 104 degrees.

This in turn aroused the curiosity of scientists. Led by Rafaela S.C.Takeshita of Kyoto University, she and her team wondered what was causing this unique behavior. They have published their results in the journal Primates. They don’t really know why the macaques prefer the slightly warmer pools, but they did find that bathing in hot springs causes their stress levels to decrease. In cold weather, glucocorticoids, which indicate stress levels, naturally go up. Bathing in the hot springs lowers the number of glucocorticoids, hence, reducing the level of stress.

It turns out these macaques are really smart! Who knew there was a scientific explanation for their behavior! (James Gorman, “Hot Springs Lower Stress in Japan’s Popular Bathing Monkeys,” The New York Times, Science section, April 3, 2018)

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