Tax preparation doesn’t need to give you a headache. There are several ways to make it easier on yourself. The IRS offers six tips to help make your tax-filing experience a breeze this year.
1. Don’t procrastinate. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Rushing to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error.
2. Visit the IRS website. More than 322 million visits were made to www.irs.gov Ã‚Â in 2011. Make “1040 Central” your first stop to check for the latest news and find answers to your questions about tax filing.
3. Use Free File. Let the MARCH ARB VITA center do the hard work for you. We’re available at Bldg. 417. Our hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mon-Fri and UTA weekends
4. Try IRS e-file. Last year, 79 percent of taxpayers “â€ 106 million people “â€ used IRS e-file, which is the safest, easiest and most common way to file a tax return. If you owe taxes, you can file immediately and pay later (by the April 17 tax deadline). Best of all, when you combine e-file with direct deposit the IRS can generally issue your refund in as few as 10 days.
5. Don’t panic if you can’t pay. If you can’t pay the full amount of taxes you owe by the mid-April deadline, you should still file your return by the deadline and pay as much as you can to avoid penalties and interest. More than 75 percent of taxpayers eligible for an Installment Agreement can apply using the web-based Online Payment Agreement application available at www.irs.gov. To find out more about this simple and convenient process, type “Online Payment Agreement” in the search box at www.irs.gov. You can also contact the IRS to discuss your payment options.
6. Request an extension of time to file “â€ but pay on time. If the deadline clock is ticking, you can get an automatic six-month extension through Oct. 15. However, this extension of time to file, which must be filed or postmarked by the April 17 deadline, does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. If you have not paid at least 90 percent of the total tax due by the April deadline you may also be subject to an estimated tax penalty. You can obtain an extension through Free File at www.irs.gov/freefile. Or, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, available for downloading at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have a paper form mailed to you. Allow at least 10 days for mailed forms and publications.
As always your March VITA Tax Center is here for you. We offer free tax retruns for military, retirees, and DOD employees. Our hours of operation are Mon-Fri 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., UTA weekends 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We are located at Bldg. 417. If you have any questions please call 655-3659 or e-mail us at MarchVITA@yahoo.com.