Sunday, April 14, 2013

2013 Last Minute Tax Filing Tips, Extensions


The April 15, 2013 tax-filing deadline is tomorrow.  The Internal Revenue Service offers the following tips for last-minute 2013 tax filers to check their tax returns for common errors:

File electronically. The IRS says that filing electronically, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. And best of all, there is a free option for everyone.


Mail a paper tax return to the right address.  Paper tax filers should check the appropriate address where to file in IRS.gov or their form instructions to avoid processing delays.


Take a close look at the tax year tables. When figuring tax using the tax tables, taxpayers should be sure to use the correct column for the filing status claimed.


Fill in all requested information clearly. When entering information on the tax return, including Social Security numbers, take the time to be sure it is correct and easy to read. Also, check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.


Review all figures. While software catches and prevents many errors on e-file returns, math errors remain common on paper returns.


Get the right routing and account numbers. Requesting direct deposit of a federal refund into one, two or even three accounts is convenient and allows the taxpayer access to his or her money faster. Make sure the financial institution routing and account numbers entered on the return are accurate. Incorrect numbers can cause a refund to be delayed or deposited into the wrong account.


Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign and date the return. E-filers can sign using a self-selected personal identification number (PIN).


Attach all required forms. Paper filers need to attach W-2s and other forms that reflect tax withholding, to the front of their returns. If requesting a payment agreement with the IRS, also attach Form 9465 to the front of the return. Attach all other necessary schedules and forms in sequence number order shown in the upper right-hand corner.


Keep a copy of the return. Once ready to be filed, taxpayers should make a copy of their signed return and all schedules for their records.


Request a Filing Extension. For taxpayers who cannot meet the April 15 deadline, requesting a filing extension is easy and will prevent late filing penalties. Either use Free File or Form 4868. But keep in mind that while an extension grants additional time to file, tax payments are still due April 15.


Owe tax? If so, a number of e-payment options are available. Or send a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury.”


Extension to File Taxes

If you need extra time to file your tax return, here is how you can get an automatic six-month extension from the IRS.


There are five important things that the IRS says you need to know about filing for an extension to file your taxes:
  1. Extra time to file is not extra time to pay.  You may request an extension of time to file your federal tax return to get an extra six months to file, until Oct. 15, 2013. Although an extension will give you an extra six months to get your tax return to the IRS, it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax you owe. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April 15, 2013 deadline. You may also owe a penalty for failing to pay on time.
  2. File on time even if you can’t pay.  If you complete your return but you can’t pay the full amount due, do not request an extension. File your return on time and pay as much as you can. You should pay the balance as soon as possible to minimize penalty and interest charges. If you need more time to pay, you can apply for a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov. You can also send Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your return. If you are unable to make payments because of a financial hardship, the IRS will work with you. Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to discuss your options.
  3. Use Free File to request an extension.  Everyone can use IRS Free File to e-file their extension request. Free File is available exclusively through the IRS.gov website. You must e-file the request by midnight on April 15. If you e-file your extension request, the IRS will acknowledge receipt of your request.
  4. Use Form 4868 if you file a paper form.  You can request an extension of time to file by submitting Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You must submit this form to the IRS by April 15, 2013. Form 4868 is available on IRS.gov.
  5. Electronic funds withdrawal.  If you e-file an extension request, you can also pay any balance due by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from a checking or savings account. To do this you will need your bank routing and account numbers.