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Instructions for Form 1040-EZ

Filing the Return(p21)


Due Date(p21)

File Form 1040EZ by April 18, 2011. (The due date is April 18, instead of April 15, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia—even if you do not live in the District of Columbia.) If you file after this date, you may have to pay interest and penalties, discussed later on this page.
If you were serving in, or in support of, the U.S. Armed Forces in a designated combat zone or a contingency operation, you can file later. See Pub. 3 for details.

What if You Cannot File on Time?(p21)

If you cannot file on time, you can get an automatic 6-month extension (to October 17, 2011) if, no later than the date your return is due, you file Form 4868. For details, see Form 4868.
However, even if you get an extension, the tax you owe is still due April 18, 2011. If you make a payment with your extension request, see the instructions for line 10 on page 18.

What if You File or Pay Late?(p21)

We can charge you interest and penalties on the amount you owe.
We will charge you interest on taxes not paid by their due date, even if an extension of time to file is granted. We will also charge you interest on penalties imposed for failure to file, negligence, fraud, substantial valuation misstatements, substantial understatements of tax, and reportable transaction understatements. Interest is charged on the penalty from the due date of the return (including extensions).


Late filing.(p21)
If you file late, the penalty is usually 5% of the amount due for each month or part of a month your return is late, unless you have a reasonable explanation. If you do, include it with your return. The penalty can be as much as 25% of the tax due. The penalty is 15% per month, up to a maximum of 75%, if the failure to file is fraudulent. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty will be $135 or the amount of any tax you owe, whichever is smaller.
Late payment of tax.(p21)
If you pay your taxes late, the penalty is usually 1/2 of 1% of the unpaid amount for each month or part of a month the tax is not paid. The penalty can be as much as 25% of the unpaid amount. It applies to any unpaid tax on the return. This penalty is in addition to interest charges on late payments.
Frivolous return.(p21)
In addition to any other penalties, there is a penalty of $5,000 for filing a frivolous return. A frivolous return is one that does not contain information needed to figure the correct tax or shows a substantially incorrect tax because you take a frivolous position or desire to delay or interfere with the tax laws. This includes altering or striking out the preprinted language above the space where you sign. For a list of positions identified as frivolous, see Notice 2010-33, 2010-17 I.R.B 609 available at
Are there other penalties?(p21)
Yes. There are penalties for negligence, substantial understatement of tax, reportable transaction understatements, filing an erroneous refund claim, and fraud. There may be criminal penalties for willful failure to file, tax evasion, or making a false statement. See Pub. 17 for details.

Where Do You File?(p21)

See the last page.
Private delivery services.(p21)
You can use only the IRS-designated private delivery services below to meet the timely mailing as timely filing/paying rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following.
The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.
Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. box address.