Five Tips to Avoid Tax Time Stress
Are you looking for ways to avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? Here are some stress-relieving tips to help you.
- Don’t Procrastinate – Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Your haste to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error.
- Visit the IRS Online – In 2008, there were more than 330 million visits to IRS.gov. Anyone with Internet access can find tax law information and answers to frequently asked tax questions.
- File Your Return Electronically – Nearly 90 million taxpayers filed their returns electronically in 2008. Aside from ease of filing, IRS e-file is the fastest and most accurate way to file a tax return. If you’re due a refund, the waiting time for e-filers is half that of paper filers.
- Don’t Panic if You Can’t Pay – If you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe by the April deadline, you should still file your return by the deadline and pay as much as you can to avoid penalties and interest. You also should contact the IRS to discuss your payment options at 1-800-829-1040. The agency may be able to provide some relief such as a short-term extension to pay, an installment agreement or an offer in compromise. More than 75 percent of taxpayers eligible for an Installment Agreement can apply using the Web-based Online Payment Agreement application available on IRS.gov. To find out more about this simple and convenient process type “Online Payment Agreement” in the search box on the IRS.gov homepage.
- Request an Extension of Time to File – But Pay on Time If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six month extension of time to file to October 15. However, this extension of time to file does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date. See IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for a variety of easy ways to apply for an extension. Form 4868 is available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Taxpayers needing Form 4868 should act soon to be sure they have the item in time to meet the April deadline.