tax time tipsFeeling the panic now that you’ve waited until the last minute to file your taxes? Procrastination is human. Most of us like to procrastinate if they face a difficult or fearful situation. The same is true with taxes. Often when we find it too difficult to handle, we procrastinate on filing our taxes on time. Whatever your reason may be, waiting until the last minute can also increase your chances of making mistakes and overpaying while you’re at it. The following tips will help ensure you aren’t missing out on some valuable tax deductions and credits. In a hurry? File electronically. It’s fast, easy and secure. IRS e-file is now the norm. Many Taxbrain customers say it takes an average of 30 minutes to complete their tax return. No need to worry about the math, Taxbrain does all of the calculations accurately. Do check your identification numbers. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.

Do you qualify for EITC?

According to the IRS, about 20% of the taxpayers who qualify for the EITC, which can mean several thousand dollars for low- and moderate-income taxpayers, don’t claim it. For more info, see the IRS Q&A: Earned Income Tax Credit

Did you get married, divorced, have a baby, adopt a child or buy a home in 2013?

Your deductions probably changed. You may have always claimed the standard deduction, but if you’ve had any major life events, you may want to consider itemizing your deductions. You may also qualify for a new deduction or credit if you’re caring for a dependent parent, you or your spouse started a business of went back to school.

Did you pay student loan interest?

If you itemize, you may be able to deduct many expenses related to your search: printing resumes, fees for employment and outplacement agencies, career seminar costs and business-related travel.

Did you search or move for a new job?

If you itemize, you may be able to deduct many expenses related to your search: printing resumes, fees for employment and outplacement agencies, career seminar costs and business-related travel. Moving expenses relevant to your job search may also be deductible if you meet the distance and time test. (link)

Were you out of work?

Be aware that unemployment compensation is fully taxable. If you did not have enough or any withheld from your unemployment compensation, you still have to file.

Do you owe the IRS money?

A number of e-pay (link) options are available. Or you can send a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury.” If you can’t pay the full amount, file your return and contact the IRS to find out about payment options, such as an installment agreement.

Have questions or need help completing your tax return?

If you haven’t done so already, set up a free account with Taxbrain now. Get your taxes done with step-by-step assistance from Taxbrain’s free tech support, call 1-866-829-2747 or chat.

Mailing your tax return?

Double-check your figures and tax tables. If you are filing a paper return, you should double-check that you have correctly figured the refund or balance due. Sign your form. You must sign and date your return. Keep a copy of your return. Once ready to be filed, taxpayers should make a copy of their signed return and all schedules for their records. Be sure you are mailing your return to the right address to avoid processing delays. Use sufficient first class postage, or consider sending your return via certified mail. Get it in the mail where it will be postmarked no later than April 15. Your tax return must be stamped by the postal service midnight April 15. As long as your return is postmarked by April 15, 2014, the IRS considers your return filed on time. Find out which post offices are open late. The U.S. Post Office has a special section on its website where you can find postal branches that are open late on tax day. Follow the link that says “Find Post Offices.” Enter your zip code and it will show you which post office have evening hours. Or, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS and ask which branches are open late.