Last Minute Tax Filing Tips

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As we move into April, tax deadlines are on the horizon. Since getting taxes prepared is pretty low on most people's list of things to do, you might need some last minute tips.

The good news is you have a few extra days to file in 2007. The tax code is based on business days. Any deadline that falls on a weekend is automatically bumped to the following Monday. That is the case this year, so you have to the 17th to file.

Preparing tax returns is a complex matter. If you don't believe me, just try reading one set of instructions kicked out by the IRS. Instead of doing a sloppy preparation, you might want to get more time. 4868 is the form you need to file.

The IRS automatically accepts the tax filing extension. It is also good for a six month period. This means you have until October 16th to file your personal returns. You can request a second extension then, but they are not often granted.

There is something important to understand about your automatic extension. It is only an extension to file. You still are required to pay all the money you owe. Failure to do so will lead to the assessment of penalties and interest when you finally do file.

Nothing is worse then preparing your return and then realizing you don't have enough money to pay the amount due. This leads to quandary and massive headache. Is there any potential relief?

If this occurs, your first option is the Ostrich strategy. You can just stick your head in the sand and not file until you have enough money to pay the bill. The problem, of course, is the IRS is going to notice. You will also pay more in penalties and interest.

A better option is to go ahead and file the tax return. You should also send in what you can for payment. The IRS will then send you a notice that you have underpaid. You can then request a payment plan by going to the IRS website.

You are probably wondering what the difference is between the approaches. Ultimately, the second approach saves you money. Why? Well, the interest and penalties you pay will be based on a smaller outstanding debt because you sent at least some money in.

Now, what if you are ready to file and can pay the tax debt? You can get money to the IRS in a couple of ways. The first is to send in a check as most do. The second is to pay by credit card. Just go to the IRS site to find authorized vendors to handle the payments.

Tax refunds are beautiful things. Of course, you never know if you are due one until you figure out your return. If you are, you can apply it to next year's taxes or get it back. To check on the status of your refund check, visit the IRS site to get a real time report.

I proudly admit to being a procrastinator. If you are like me, D-Day is here. Perhaps we should call it T-Day.
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