April 18th continues its inevitable approach. If you followed the tips in my last tax blog, you hopefully have prepared yourself and collected all the necessary documents and information about you and your family. Not that they make taxes any more fun, but hopefully thinking about them isn’t quite as unpleasant? It is? Yeah, it is for me too, but at least we’re ready. So you don’t get overwhelmed in the next few weeks, I collected more advice that you should keep in mind as you get ready and ultimately file your tax return.
There’s always help. Filing taxes can be complicated, especially if you don’t have much experience with it. You have undoubtedly seen all the commercials for companies that can do your taxes for you, and it never hurts to look into them and see if they could be right for you. Just make sure you do your research. There are a lot of scammers out there looking to make money and/or steal identities. Ask around and look up reviews of tax services online. The IRS even offers free assistance by phone, computer and in person. I know you’re a smart shopper, and that especially helps if you’re looking for something this important.
Save paper. If you are looking for an easier and faster way to file your taxes, visit http://www.irs.gov and take advantage of their online Free File service. You can fill out and submit your tax return safely using IRS e-file, and you won’t use one sheet of paper in the process.
Life happens. There are a countless number of circumstances that can prevent you from turning in your tax return on time. If this happens to you, the IRS allows you to file a tax extension and get an automatic extra six months to file your return. Just keep in mind, extra time to file does NOT mean extra time to pay. If you know you will owe tax to the government you will still have to pay at least 90 percent of it by April 18th or face late payment penalties.
Keep records. Whenever you fill out any tax form, be sure to make a copy of it for your own records before sending it in. The Free File service allows you to print the sheets you fill out, or you can make a photocopy or scan of the paper form.
You have rights. The IRS offers ways for you to appeal some decisions they make regarding your taxes. You can request an Appeals conference if you don’t agree with audit results, penalties, interest, or many other outcomes to your taxes. Just make sure you have all the appropriate records and documentation to make your case.
Got questions? Get your worth on by visiting http://www.irs.gov/individuals/index.html for information and http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/content/0,,id=104608,00.html for more tips.
Savings tip: If you are a member of FTWCCU and file your taxes online through Turbo Tax, download one of the Turbo Tax software and receive a 15% discount. https://www.ftwccu.org/mstinc/hpa/ttob2010/