With less than one week until the filing deadline, taxpayers across the country are scrambling to finish up their 2009 tax returns. Here are a few tips to help you avoid tax-time stress!

  1. If you can’t pay what you owe before the deadline, don’t panic!  If it turns out that you owe taxes this year but can’t afford to pay them, you’ll definitely want to file the return before the 15th to avoid late filing penalties. For your balance due, you’ll simply request an Installment Agreement Request by filing a form 9465. The IRS will approve or deny your request by sending out a written response.
  2. If you can’t complete your return before the 15th, request an extension!  The IRS will grant an automatic six month extension to taxpayers who timely file an extension request using Form 4868. Remember, an extension of time to file does not include an extension of time to pay. You must estimate your total tax liability and pay at least 90% of the amount due to avoid paying interest and penalties.
  3. Check your work!  When completing your return, be sure to confirm that you have the right Social Security Numbers listed for you, your spouse and any dependents. According to the IRS, any missing, incorrect or illegible identification numbers will delay or reduce your tax refund.
  4. Don’t miss out on new Tax Credits! Be sure to visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov to learn more about the latest tax law changes and find answers to your questions. For most taxpayers, Publication 17 is the best resource.
  5. IRA Deadline is also April 15th!  Taxpayers still have until the 15th to open a traditional IRA that may help lower their tax liability for 2009. Read more about your options and the income limits in Publication 590.  
  6. Get it ready to mail! If you’re not filing electronically, be to sure to sign and date your return before sealing your envelope. On a joint return, both spouses must sign the return. Additionally, anyone paid to prepare your return must also sign it. If you are sending a payment, make your check out to “United States Treasury”. Your check should include the Social Security Number of the primary taxpayer, a daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form being filed (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ). Last but not least, make sure you send your return to the correct Processing Center. If you do not have a preprinted envelope check the IRS website for the correct mailing address.

Last minute taxpayers may find that many post offices will not be open for drop-off service until midnight on April 15th this year. Make sure you plan ahead if there is not a post office that will be open in your area! Many Liberty Tax® offices will offer 24 hour service during the final days of the filing service so that taxpayers can e-file their return or extension request around the clock right up until the midnight deadline on April 15th! If you run into problems, we’ll be here to help!

Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.