The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accepts the following reasons for failure to file tax returns on time:

1. Late receipt of the return, although it was mailed in time to reach the IRS by the deadline (as evidenced by the postmark).

2. Filing to the wrong IRS District Office.

3. Death or disability of the taxpayer or a member of the immediate family.

4. Unavoidable absence of the taxpayer.

5. Destruction of a taxpayer’s residence, place of business, or business records due to fire, civil disturbance, or other casualty.

6. Erroneous information from an IRS employee or failure of the IRS to provide a taxpayer with requested forms or instructions.

7. Failure by an IRS representative to meet with a taxpayer who sought tax preparation assistance.

8. Lack of access to records needed to file taxes.

9. Incorrect advice received from a qualified tax advisor that a return need not be filed.

It is obviously important to any financial plan that tax returns be filed on time. The above items, while certainly legitimate, are a less desirable alternative than a timely filing.

If tax returns cannot be filed on time, automatic extensions are available by filing Form 4868. The taxes due, however, must be paid when filing the extension form.

IRS Audit Update: Taxpayers are usually picked for audit randomly. Approximately 2.1 million taxpayers, or 2.4 percent of the population filing returns, will be selected for audit. A less common selection method is the Taxpayers Compliance Measure Program (TCMP) audit. Chances of undergoing this type of audit are 2,085 to 1.