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Last-Minute Advice for Taxpayers Filing Online

 

Last-Minute Advice for Taxpayers Filing Online

Adam Krause
by Adam Krause, Contributor

If you are planning to file taxes online at the last minute, there are several tips you should keep in mind to help the tax preparation process go as successfully, and with as little stress as possible.

First of all, the choice to file taxes online in the first place is already going to save you a lot of time, since the return will go directly to the IRS without waiting for the postal service to do its work. You will also save the trouble of filling out paper tax forms, and the cost of postage, by choosing to file taxes online. Plus, your income tax return will probably be more accurate, because of the error-detecting mechanisms in the software you use to file taxes online.

Next, be sure you have all the forms you need before attempting to file taxes online. That means W-2s and any other income, whether it is from a trust, partnership, pension, annuity, lottery or casino. Also have the information at your fingertips pertaining to any tax credits or tax deductions your software suggests while you file taxes online. Common tax deductions include mortgage interest or student loan interest, mileage or home office repairs. Having to hunt around for these tax forms, or even contact an employer or mortgage company to have them sent to you again, will slow down the process.

If you are really rushed, you can always file for a tax extension, which will give you until October 15 to file taxes online. This does not exclude you from paying the taxes you owe by April 15. In fact, the IRS will impose a 5% penalty per month on the balance you owe them if you don’t file, and 0.5% per month if you file but don’t pay. However, a tax extension can give you more time to get your paperwork in order so that you can claim all your deductions and credits.

Finally, review all the numbers on your tax return before you hit the “Send” button to file taxes online. Mistyping your tax ID number or Social Security Number is an easy mistake to make, but it could confuse the IRS and delay your tax refund. Adding up your income or deduction amounts wrong while you file taxes online at the last minute is also a strong possibility. These mistakes could either cost you some tax savings or result in a tax audit, so make sure you are careful as well as swift if you wait until the middle of April to file taxes online.