You don't have to live in one of the most tax procrastinating cities to be a tax procrastinator. There are many reasons why you might be behind filing your taxes this year — though most are probably weak excuses at this point — but you don't have to stress. You can always file an extension and take your time so you get it right. Aiming to meet the April 15 deadline? The often-vilified folks at the IRS have put together a helpful list of last-minute tips:
- File Electronically — Consider filing electronically instead of using paper tax forms. If you file electronically and choose to have your tax refund deposited directly into your bank account, you will have your money in as few as 10 days. Virtually everyone can prepare a return and electronically file it for free. For the second year, the IRS and its partners are offering the option of Free File Fillable Forms. Another option is Traditional Free File. About 98 million taxpayers – 70 percent of all taxpayers – are eligible for the IRS Traditional Free File.
- Check the Identification Numbers — When filing a paper return carefully check the identification numbers — usually Social Security numbers — for each person listed. This includes you, your spouse, dependents and persons listed in relation to claims for the Child and Dependent Care Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.
- Double-Check Your Figures — If you are filing a paper return, you should double-check that you have correctly figured the refund or balance due.
For the rest of the tips, read more.
- Check the Tax Tables — If you are filing using the Free File Fillable Forms or a paper return you should double-check that you have used the right figure from the tax table.
- Sign your form — You must sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.
- Mailing Your Return — Use the coded envelope included with your tax package to mail your return. If you did not receive an envelope, check the section called "Where Do You File?" in the tax instruction booklet.
- Mailing a Payment — People sending a payment should make the check out to “United States Treasury” and should enclose it with, but not attach it to the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, if used. The check should include the Social Security number of the person listed first on the return, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.
- Electronic Payments — Electronic payment options are convenient, safe and secure methods for paying taxes. You can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal, or use a credit or a debit card. For more information on electronic payment options, visit IRS.gov.
- Extension to File — By the April due date, you should either file a return or request an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
- IRS.gov — Forms and publications and helpful information on a variety of tax subjects are available around the clock at IRS.gov. You can also check the status of your refund after you file your return by clicking on Where’s My Refund?.