Most taxpayers have already filed their returns, but every year about a quarter of Americans wait until the last couple of weeks to file. If you are about to spend/ruin your weekend preparing your taxes, here are some resources: IRS E-File: Less than 1% of electronic returns have errors, compared with 20% of paper returns
IRS Free File: Taxpayers who make $60,000 dollars or less can use software to prepare and file their federal taxes
Free Tax Preparation: The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS Publication 3676-B outlines the services provided and check out the What to Bring page to ensure you have all the required documents and information necessary.
Direct deposit: 9 out of 10 refunds are issued within 3 weeks or less, compared with 6 - 8 weeks for paper-filed tax returns
ACA Tax Info: This is the first year you have to account for whether or not you have health insurance.
Consider Itemized vs. Standard deduction: 75 percent of tax filers take the standard deduction, which is $6,200 if you’re single and $12,400 if you’re married filing jointly. But you may be able to maximize your deductions by gathering your receipts for things like charitable contributions and other expenses that could give you a bigger tax deduction and lower your tax liability.
Don't Forget Juicy Credits: Credits provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your income tax liability, so don't overlook the valuable ones.
IRA Contribution eligibility: A great way to save money on taxes is by contributing to an IRA by April 15, even if you go on extension. The maximum contribution is $5,500 or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older by the end of last year. Even if you are contributing to a work-based retirement plan, you may be able to take a deduction for an IRA contribution. Check the IRS web site to find out.
6-month extension with Form 4868 by April 15: Each year, approximately 7 percent of U.S. taxpayers — around 8 million people, file an extension and for good reason: Without an extension, you could face nasty penalties for late filing and late payment, which can total almost 50 percent of what you owe to your tax bill. Remember that extensions have a major caveat: The IRS gives you extra time to file, but not to pay. You must estimate your tax liability and pay at least 90 percent of what you think you owe to avoid a penalty.
If you can’t pay:
Apply for a 120-day extension: No cost, but interest and any applicable penalties continue to accrue until the liability is paid in full. For more information, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 (inds) or 800-829-4933 (bus)
Apply for extension of time for payment due to undue hardship (Form 1127)
Use an IRS installment plan (Form 9465)
Make an offer in compromise
Use a credit card: An expensive way to go because you’ll pay fees charged by your credit card company, which can be up to 2.35 percent. You’re better off paying by check or electronic funds withdrawal online.