Monday, April 8, 2013

Five Things Every Last Minute Tax Filer Should Know

Recently the IRS reported the number of tax returns filed during the last half of March has dropped from 2012’s numbers, meaning more people will likely be sweating it out as the April 15 deadline approaches.

According to an article from ABCNews.com, 80.5 million individual tax returns had been filed as of March 22, compared with 84.9 million by March 23 of last year.
Last minute tax filing can be stressful, but there are ways to smooth out the process.

So if you haven’t filed yet, here’s what you should know as the deadline draws near:

Be aware of online options- The IRS now offers a Free File program to file electronically and get your refund back in a flash. Special tracking options allow you to keep an eye on when your return will be coming back in the mail as well. Filing online is now recommended by the IRS and is becoming mainstream.

Be aware of suspicious emails – Online criminals may see tax time as an opportunity to steal one’s identity.  Be aware of emails coming from an IRS email account seeking personal information as they are likely bogus.  The IRS has already issued 770,000 special numbers for potential victims, a huge increase from last year according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Protecting yourself consists of covering all the bases such as ignoring suspicious emails and safeguarding your personal information in general.

It’s important to double check your information- In the scramble to file last minute taxes, mistakes are often made. If you submit a Social Security number for a dependent that is incorrect, for example, you won’t receive those tax deductions. Make sure to double check everything to avoid potential problems down the line.


When to seek professional assistance- It may be tempting to file your own taxes, especially with the proliferation of affordable filing programs, but certain people benefit more from professional assistance than others. Business owners, stock traders, freelancers and others are among those who benefit most according to a recent article from Yahoo! Finance.

You can always ask for more time- A six-month extension is far easier to receive than most people think; automatic to be more specific. The form can be found at www.IRS.gov and can allow an extension all the way into mid-October if needed. Keep in mind that if you owe money, you’ll still have to pay up by April 15, however. 

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