For those that still haven’t filed their taxes, there are some important things to look out for this year as the filing deadline draws near.
The I-R-S says filing online is the best approach for procrastinators. It’s the way most people file these days and I-R-S spokesman Michael Devine says it’s by far the most accurate, too.
“The chances of making a mistake that’s going to generate a notice from the IRS on an electronically prepared and e-filed return is less than 1%. If you’re doing it with a pencil and paper and a calculator your chances of making a mistake on those late returns go up to about 20%,” Devine said.
Devine says the most common errors year in and year out are writing down the wrong social security number or putting down the wrong legal name. This usually happens in the case of a marriage where the person’s last name has changed but hasn’t been altered in the I-R-S system.
Using an electronic filing service is also a good idea this year because of the “Making Work Pay” tax credit and other stimulus programs. Those could amount to hundreds of dollars in credits, and most programs or professionals will find out if you’re eligible.
Devine says another issue for many folks when money is tight is that they can’t come up with the cash to pay what they owe.
“They may be tempted to say well I just won’t file because I can’t pay. That’s the worst thing to do. The failure to file penalty is ten times larger than a failure to pay penalty,” Devine said.
Devine says you can also file for an extension at the IRS website to get more time to get them prepared.
If you still like to do things the old fashioned way with pencil and paper, Devine says you just need to remember the post office doesn’t stay open until midnight on April 15th anymore.