If you’re a procrastinator like me, then you’re just starting to prepare for the upcoming tax due date. As it turns out, you’re not alone. Many firms responsible for sending out tax information to the taxpayers don’t even deliver the information until February or March, making it very difficult for those taxpayers to get their tax returns done on time. In fact, over 40% of Americans file after the beginning of April. If you fall into this category, don’t be discouraged and give up on your tax returns! There is still plenty of time to get it all done! Here are some useful tips to getting your tax return filed properly in the next two weeks.
File Online. One of the best moves during this tax season is for you to file online. A great (and surprising!) thing about filing online is that there have not been very many computer problems, and the IRS is only working to make it better by improving the process. Over two-thirds of people filed online last year, and that number will only be increasing. The updated and improved website will help guarantee few problems. However, it is always advisable to not wait to file online until the night before taxes are due as websites and the internet in general can be very unpredictable when too many people are using them.
Use a Tax Preparer. If you’re having a problem figuring out your taxes, it may be time to bring in a professional. There are a variety of ways to get your taxes done right though, even if you’re having problems figuring out the labyrinth of rules and regulations that is the tax code. A certified public accountant (“CPA”) can be hired to file your taxes, or a specialized tax preparer can do the same thing. Since this is the busiest time for these professions, the earlier you get your information in, the better. Another option is a place like H&R Block. H&R Block will help you through the tax process and explain any aspects that are confusing or unclear. H&R Block also offers representation in the event of an audit. For a more do-it-yourself option that offers guidance and major assistance, TurboTax and H&R Block Home are software you can use at home to calculate your taxes. The program will aid you in finding applicable deductions, credits, and exemptions for your taxes. Finally, there are numerous free e-filing options on the IRS website that supply interactive forms and calculators. There are many options for help in preparing your taxes, from someone to take over the process for you to calculators that help you figure out final numbers after you’ve done all the work yourself. Pick the system that works best for you and your life and get a move on!
Apply For a Tax Deadline Extension. Last but not least, if you feel that you cannot get your taxes completed and submitted on time, file Form 4868 as soon as possible. This will extend your tax deadline by six months, allowing you to complete your taxes correctly. You can file this form online as well, so it is a simple way to avoid running into problems with the IRS. Don’t let this be an excuse to wait though! An important point to note, this form does not extend the time to pay taxes and you must make a payment of your estimated taxes by the regular due date. Failure to do this may result in interest or penalties.
Regardless of how you get your taxes done or whether you file for an extension, the most important thing is to actually file your taxes. The IRS has estimated that it has over $1 million in unclaimed refunds, some of which could be yours! By filing a tax return, you are saving yourself a lot of time and hassle down the road and protecting yourself from the ire of the IRS.
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