Top Last-Minute Tax Filing Tips

PHOTO: 1040 income tax form
Digital Vision/Getty Images

As millions of tax filers scramble to file their tax returns before the April 15 deadline, they run the risk of making mistakes that can be easy to avoid. And this year there's more late-filers than in 2012, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

As of March 22, the IRS reported that 80.5 million individual tax returns had been received, compared with 84.9 million on March 23, 2012.

Lisa Greene-Lewis, lead CPA with the American Tax and Financial Center at TurboTax, said many people have lingering questions as they prepare their taxes in the final hours.

TurboTax experts are available to answer questions for those who use the company's software, but you can fix some errors yourself by simply double-checking your filing.

Here are five tips from TurboTax for last-minute filers:

1.
Go Online

Both the IRS and TurboTax recommend filing your taxes online, and thereby avoid post office lines and making an appointment. The IRS' Free File allows you to e-file electronically and get your tax refund quickly. Plus, you can track your tax refund status within 72 hours after you e-file.

2.
Don't Forget Opportunities for Credits, Deductions

Taxpayers have until April 15 to sign up for to an IRA to get a deduction on their return. Also, Greene-Lewis urges filers to remember charitable contributions, education credits and even expenses related to job-searching in your field.

3.
E-file With Direct Deposit

The IRS agrees that using e-file with direct deposit is the fastest option for taxpayers. The IRS expects to issue nine out of 10 refunds in 21 days or less, but the agency said it was issuing refunds to more taxpayers "in as few as 10 days this year for those who e-file and select direct deposit."

4.
Double Check Your Figures

Greene-Lewis of TurboTax urges filers to double-check even the familiar figures in a tax return, even Social Security numbers.

"I always recommend they check dependents' Social Security numbers," she said. "Those Social Security numbers for dependents give you [the possibiliy] for a lot of tax deductions for dependents. If they're incorrect, you won't be able to get those tax deductions."

5.
Don't Panic If You Need More Time

You can request an extra six months by filing for an extension, but TurboTax reminds filers that this is not an extension to pay.

Taxpayers still need to send the IRS a payment for estimated taxes owed, and it must be 90 percent accurate, to avoid penalties.

TurboTax allows you to file a federal tax extension for free.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Salvager Eric Schmitt was combing through the wreckage of a convoy of Spanish ships that sank off the coast of Florida in 1715 when he discovered a missing piece from a gold Pyx.
Courtesy 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC
Lisa Kudrow
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library | Getty Images
PHOTO: In this April 26, 2013 photo, a large home intended for the family of Warren Jeffs is seen in Hildale, Utah.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune/AP
PHOTO: Zac Efron seen at BBC Radio One, April 24, 2014, in London.
Neil P. Mockford/GC Images/Getty Images