Tax season is a stressful time for many people, and the longer you procrastinate in preparing and filing your taxes, the more stressful it can get. As the April 18th deadline approaches (it was pushed back this year because of a city holiday in Washington, D.C.), last minute filers sometimes tend to rush through their returns or miss the deadline altogether. If you have not yet prepared and filed your taxes, here is last minute helpful advice.

File On Time Or Get An Extension

Many people do not realize that failing to file your tax return on time can lead to costly fines if owe money. You should do everything possible to get your return in on time and with accuracy. If you do find that you have run out of time, you can file for an automatic extension using IRS form 4868. It is important to note however, that if you are filing for an extension and you owe money, your payment is till due by the tax deadline. If you know you are going to owe money, do your best to estimate the amount due and send your tax payment to the IRS.

The IRS accepts any reason for filing for an extension, so do not worry about getting denied. It is important that you do not feel rushed when filing your taxes because it can cost you money, even if you do not owe taxes because you may miss deductions or tax credits that you otherwise would have taken if you were not careless.

What If I Can Not Pay My Tax Bill?

Many people each year decide not to file their return on time because they cannot afford their tax bill. This is not a smart decision. Even if you do not have the monetary means, you should still file your return on time. This will save you having to pay late and penalty filing fees. The penalty for not filing your tax return and not paying your taxes is 5% a month. If you file your taxes but do not pay, the penalty is only .5% a month.

What many filers do not realize is that the IRS offers tax payers an option to set up a monthly payment plan to pay off their tax bill. Unless you know you are going to have the money to pay your bill in full in a short period of time, your best option is to file your return on time and fill out the paperwork for an IRS payment plan.

What Else Should I Know?

As you are preparing your return, try not to rush, but to check and recheck to ensure that all of your information is accurate. It is also a good idea to recheck for any deductions you may have missed. Additionally, you may want to review the following check list before you mail or e-file your taxes:

  • If you chose to e-file, make sure you keep all related documentation in case you are asked to turn it over to the IRS at a later time.
  • If you are mailing your return, do not forget to sign it.
  • If you are mailing your return, make copies of everything in case your return gets lost.
  • If mailing, you should also consider sending your return certified mail so that you have proof it was received by the IRS.
  • If you need to send payment to the IRS, make sure you make the check out for the correct amount, and that you have dated and signed it.
  • Finally, whether you e-file or mail your return, triple check everything, especially your social security number before submitting or mailing, and if you filled out a paper return re-check your math.

In conclusion, perhaps the best part of tax season is when you file your return. You can now breathe a sigh of relief that you won’t have to go through this burden again for another entire year.

This guest post was provided by Manny Davis..

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