Taxpayers who rush to beat the deadline may miss a tax benefit or, worse, make a mistake, the IRS warns. Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker.

Tax Day is here: Five things to know

Is your wallet feeling a bit lighter today? There’s a reason for that.

Today is the filing deadline for federal and Ohio taxes on income earned in 2016.

Here are five to thing to know about one of two things in life that can never be avoided: Taxes.

RELATED: Tax day is here. What should I do?

1. File something.

The Internal Revenue Service advises taxpayers to file on time — that’s today, in case you’re wondering — and pay what they can, even if they can’t afford to pay all of what they owe. This will reduce potential penalties and interest charges, the service notes. For unpaid taxes, you can still seek an installment agreement to pay over time.

2. File anything.

This is important. Ignoring the deadline and hoping it goes away isn’t going to work for you, not in the long run. “The failure-to-file penalty is 10 times more than the failure-to-pay penalty,” the IRS says. “So if you can’t pay in full, you should file your tax return and pay as much as you can.”

Not everyone who should pay does. A study by economist Richard Cebula forecasts a cumulative gap of some $9 trillion — with a “t” — in the years 2017 to 2026, the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid. The shortfall this year is projected to be $693 billion.

3. You can get more time.

Six months of additional time, to be precise. There’s a form for applying for a six-month filing extension, and the IRS encourages you to use it, if you find yourself between today’s deadline and a hard place.

4. But you still have to pay.

Ah, therein lies the rub. The extension is additional time for filing, not paying. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants — the people who live and breathe this stuff — advise taxpayers to calculate a “thorough estimate” of what they owe and “round up” if they’re not completely certain that their determination is accurate.

5. I need help. Where do I go?

Start with and its helpful list of tips. You may find a lot of answers at that web site, but to get in-person help at an IRS “Taxpayer Assistance Center,” you’ll have to make an appointment.


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