Photo: IRS Tax Tips
The deadline for filing your taxes is approaching quickly.
April 15 is usually the last day to file your taxes, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the 2011 deadline to Monday, April 18.
The extension probably brings little relief to the millions of taxpayers who always wait until the last minute, regardless of the deadline. The following tips will help you file your taxes on time and avoid mistakes.
File an extension
If you cannot file your taxes by the April 18 deadline, apply for an extension. This gives taxpayers six additional months to meet their tax obligations. It’s better to file later than to rush and file your taxes with mistakes.
Although the extension gives you more time to file your taxes, it does not mean you have more time to pay your taxes. The deadline for paying is still April 18. The IRS offers payment plans and installment agreements if you have trouble paying your taxes.
To apply for an extension, you need to fill out the form 4868 and follow the instructions.
The extension can be filed in three ways:
Electronically, on a personal computer by using the IRS’s FreeFile online service
Online or by phone, if you are able to pay part or all of your tax bill using a credit or debit card
By sending the form by traditional mail
File your taxes online
Filing your taxes online is not only secure and convenient, but it is also a good option if you don’t have enough time to find a tax preparer. The IRS has several programs to help all taxpayers file their taxes online for free.
So far, the 2011 tax season is showing a 6 percent increase in online filing as compared to 2010.
If you’re planning to file your taxes online, visit the FreeFile section on the IRS website since not all private industry software is compatible with the service.
Check the application
The rush to file your taxes on time might increase the chances of making mistakes. While tax software might detect some errors, it won’t pick up typing mistakes or other information that’s incorrectly entered.
To avoid the most common mistakes when filing your taxes, the IRS suggests the following:
Double check the information on the application and pay close attention to the math.
If you want to get your refund via direct deposit, make sure the bank or financial institution information is correct.
Don’t forget to include accompanying documents such as your W-2.
Sign and date your tax return.
USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov are the U.S. Government’s official web portals in English and Spanish, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).