The April 15 federal income tax filing deadline falls on a Tuesday and millions will be doing their returns this weekend. So, if you have procrastinated and waited until the last weekend to file your taxes, take heed, here are a few tips to make things easier.
- Request an Extension – An automatic six-month extension to file through October 15, 2014 gives you an extra six months to file but not to pay. If you owe or think you owe try and full pay it on or before April 15 to avoid any potential penalties and/or interest.
- Get to a Computer and hit 'Enter'– E-file is safe, accurate, less time consuming and popular. More than 90% of all returns into the IRS thus far in 2014 have been e-filed. In addition, the IRS Free-File program is available to everyone and direct deposit is the quickest way to a tax refund.
- Free Help – Although we are really close to the deadline you might still be able to get some free tax prep in your community. Low-to-moderate income taxpayers and seniors can get free tax return preparation at dozens of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites located throughout California until April 15. Simple returns and income less than $52,000 normally qualifies for VITA assistance. Find site locations by calling the IRS VITA toll-free number at 800-906-9887, or by calling 211. Click here for the IRS VITA Locator tool.
- Don't miss out - If you qualify for any applicable tax benefit, credit or deduction then do take it. Tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the “Saver’s” Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit often fly under the radar.
- Consider Payment Options if You Owe – Can't full pay? Consider options such as an installment agreement plan or an offer-in-compromise. The IRS urges those who cannot fully pay their taxes to file a return, pay what they can and let the agency know. IRS has the flexibility to help.
- Check Social Media from IRS for Tax Information – Several social media tools are available to help you get the latest tax information and check on your tax refund status. These tools include the IRS2Go smartphone app, YouTube youtube.com/user/irsvideos, Twitter twitter.com/IRSNews, Facebook facebook.com/IRS, and Tumblr internalrevenueservice.tumblr.com
- And finally...Watch out for Tax Scams – The IRS will not initiate contact with you through email nor will the agency call you demanding payment for taxes owed to be paid on a pre-paid debit card.