March Madness - Full-Court Press
by Bob Williams
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The dust has finally settled and now just four teams remain poised to take all the marbles in the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Some results were expected. But upsets still were the rule rather than the exception.
First, the predictable. Our emotional favorite, Dayton, was finally retired by Florida, the top seed in the South. But the Flyers went home with their heads held high, staying within 10 of a very strong Gator squad. The Flyers showed us that with talent, a lot of heart and a touch of luck, even the stratosphere of the tournament remains available to smaller colleges.
That said, elsewhere it was the domain of the big guys, although the odds-makers may want to rethink that whole handicapping thing.
The Connecticut Huskies showed they were in the tourney for the long haul, beating the Michigan State Spartans 60-54. This sets the stage for a North vs. South Final Four appearance – Florida vs. Connecticut.
Over in the West, top seed Arizona was edged out by the Bad Badgers of Wisconsin in overtime, 64-63. The one-point margin of victory proved too much for some Arizona faithful, leading to a nasty little disturbance on the Arizona campus. Campus police were able to disperse the Wildcat fans after a few well-place pepper balls and some arrests.
Kentucky, ranked No. 8 in the Midwest, beat out No. 2 Michigan 75-72, setting up a Wisconsin-Kentucky Final Four match.
The remaining four teams have a little time off to rest and prepare. They’ll play Saturday, April 5, with the Finals slated for Monday, April 7 in Arlington, Texas.
One of the best tactics when time is short on the basketball court is the Full-Court Press. Every player is matched up with an opponent, and no movement goes unchallenged. In short, it’s “all hands on deck,” “the two-minute warning” and “a fight to the finish” all rolled into one.
A full-court press takes concentration, focus and a desire to do the job right. And those qualities will serve you well now, in these closing days of the income tax filing season. Your opponent is a late return. We get our points in the form of an e-filed return with a refund.
Like they say, “You’ve got to shoot to score.” And so it is.
The Game Plan
First, let’s find out just what route you need to take. If you’ve already filed your taxes (or an extension), give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, grab your beverage of choice and have a seat in the closest recliner. You can pick up your Free Pass to the Weekend at the door.
But if you haven’t filed yet, you have some decisions to make. Do you intend to file your return now, or do you need an extension?
Those taxpayers with simple returns – straightforward 1040s, 1040EZs and just W-2s to input – should probably bite the bullet and “get 'er done.” A little concentration and an hour or two on task should get you an e-filed return and a stint on that recliner.
If you don’t think you can get your return finished by the April 15 deadline – if you’re still missing W-2s, receipts or other necessary paperwork, for example – an extension of time to file would be in order.
On 1040.com, you can simply log into your account, and click the blue “Get a federal extension” button on the right side of the window after login. That can get you up to six extra months to get your return filed. And while the IRS doesn’t demand a reason for the extension, we don’t recommend an extension unless you really need one. The reason why will become apparent very shortly.
You see, the IRS gives extensions of time to file. But they don’t give an extension of time to pay if you owe any tax. Any tax due is still expected in the IRS’ lap by April 15. Your situation may be different, but in general, taxpayers who have a balance due could face penalties if that balance isn’t sent to the IRS by the deadline. Those penalties could be as much as 25 percent of the total tax owed.
For those due a refund, you can expect it to be issued by the IRS 21 days or less after they receive your return. If you chose to get a paper check, that will tack some time on for travel by U.S. Postal Service.
We understand that for some, the coming days will bring a range of emotions, ranging from mere annoyance to outright panic. As the days slip away, you may not be sure if that’s your heart beating in your ears, or the sound of the IRS clock ticking down. While there’s no time to waste, it’s also no time to panic.
Extensions may not be best for everyone. But if there are no other issues, you still have time to file your return without an extension if you just dedicate some time and effort to the project.
And then you can score some serious recliner time.
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