Tax Day will be here sooner than many would like, but the IRS wants to reassure taxpayers that there is still time to file a tax return or to file for an extension. Taxpayers have a number of filing options to make the process easier, and with the available tax credits that still apply to 2010 taxes there is more incentive than ever to complete the filing and receive the tax refund. The IRS offers a variety of assistance to ensure that all taxpayers have what they need to complete their tax returns, and for those who just cannot make the deadline of April 18 there is always the option of filing an extension.
Find Those Tax Credits
See if you qualify for any 2010 tax credits. The American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act has made a number of tax credits available
for taxpayers, and you might be eligible for more than you realize. Did you
close on a home by the end of September in 2010? If so, the Homebuyer Credit
might apply, with as much as $8,000 coming your way. Did you buy a new vehicle
in 2010? You might be able to deduct the sales tax at both the state level and
the local level. Did your family grow in 2010? The Additional Child Tax Credit
provides a credit of up to $3,000 per child added to the family.
Use IRS Free File
IRS Free File is a versatile program that has features available to all taxpayers. For
taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 or less (and according to
the IRS this includes about 70% of all taxpayers), Free File provides free tax
software that takes users through the steps and assists them through the filing
process. Free File also allows taxpayers to file electronically and request a
direct deposit, so that tax refund goes straight into the bank account.
File Electronically for a Faster Return
Those in the know file electronically. Electronic filing is
faster and easier, and it ensures a quicker tax refund, since the IRS has less
paper to process and can deposit the refund automatically. Electronic filing is
available through Free File, but most tax software programs also provide an
e-file options, and the majority of tax accountants can assist taxpayers in
e-filing as well.
File an Extension If Necessary
The April 18 deadline might be too soon for some, so the IRS
allows taxpayers to file an extension. This extension must be filed by April
18, but it gives taxpayers an extra six months (until October 17) to file their
tax returns. Free File includes a feature for filing an extension, or taxpayers
can complete IRS Form 4868 to submit the request for an extension.
Know the Deadlines
Filing for an extension applies to the tax return itself but
not to any overdue taxes. Taxpayers who expect to pay the IRS, rather than
receiving a refund, should file by the April 18 deadline to avoid overdue
penalties. From this point, taxpayers can request assistance from the IRS in
deciding on a payment plan, but not paying any taxes that are due will only
cause problems down the line. For those who are overwhelmed by the entire
process, the IRS offers volunteer tax assistance (for free) around the country to ensure that taxpayers
complete their returns.