Tax Day: apply for an extension

So I spent last evening trying to e-file for an extension to complete my Federal taxes.  I am just a teensy bit disorganized, and haven’t gotten my accountant all the information needed to prepare them.  She suggested I file for an extension, saying “it only takes a minute…”  So I went on line to the web site recommended by the IRS for e-filing, and proceeded to attempt to file for an extension.  Now of course we all know that people who file for an extension have a reason to file for an extension.  In my case, it was because I hadn’t completed it. Big surprise there, eh? Guess what?  The form used to apply for an extension requires that you figure out what your tax liability is, how much you have paid over the year, and what you owe.  Basically they want you to compute your taxes in order to file for an extension.  Hello?  IRS?  Are you insane?  I need an extension to finish doing my taxes!!!  If I have to finish my taxes in order to file for an extension, I don’t really need the extension, now do I? Jeesh.

Anyway, I’m on this web site trying to fill out a form to apply for an extension and it says I need either my 2008 AGI or e-file PIN, or my 2009 e-file PIN. So I went back to the IRS Website to apply for a 2009 PIN, having no idea of my 2008 AGI or PIN, and they had an option to call a special 800 number for a PIN, which is what I did.  After a few minutes of entering bits of info that anyone with a tiny bit of knowledge could obtain from the internet I was all set with my new PIN. Taking it back to the first site I continued to enter the data they need to process my extension.  It didn’t work. According to the IRS, a person can file for an extension using specific pieces of information on the correct form.  I had the information and entered it on the form, but the web site went into a spiral of death (yet tried to keep me entertained) while attempting to calculate what I owed. Now I understand that computers are really dumb, and that they only know zeros and ones, but really, all the thing had to do was subtract one 5 digit number from another, and enter the remainder (or zero, whichever is larger) into a final box on the form.  Simple huh? Apparently not. After ten minutes I had to use the task manager to shut down the instance of IE. I ended up writing an email to my accountant asking her if she could help me get it done, or if I needed to print out the form and send it in using snail mail.  the next day (today) she wrote me back saying “Oh, sorry I didn’t make that clear, I’ve already filed for an extension in your stead, you don’t need to do anything.”  Feh.   What a waste.

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