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Last minute tax filing tips

Posted by Andrew Chan  April 13, 2010 01:00 PM

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With the April 15 tax filing deadline quickly approaching, here are ten last minute tax filing tip from the IRS. (Taxpayers in the following seven counties in Massachusetts have until May 11 to file their federal and Massachusetts tax returns due to the flooding last month: Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester Counties.)

1) File Electronically - Consider filing your tax return electronically instead of using paper forms. If you file electronically and choose to have your tax refund deposited directly into your bank account, you will have your money in as few as 10 days. Virtually everyone can prepare a return and electronically file it for free. For the second year, the IRS and its partners are offering the option of Free File Fillable Forms.

2) Check the Identification Numbers - When filing a paper return carefully check the identification numbers - usually Social Security numbers - for each person listed. This includes you, your spouse, dependents and persons listed in relation to claims for the Child and Dependent Care Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.

3) Double-Check Your Figures - If you are filing a paper return, you should double-check that you have correctly figured the refund or balance due.

4) Check the Tax Tables - If you are filing using the Free File Fillable Forms or a paper return you should double-check that you have used the right figure from the tax table.

5) Sign your form - You must sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.

6) Mailing Your Return - Use the coded envelope included with your tax package to mail your return. If you did not receive an envelope, check the section called "Where Do You File?" in the tax instruction booklet.

7) Mailing a Payment - People sending a payment should make the check out to "United States Treasury" and should enclose it with, but not attach it to the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, if used. The check should include the Social Security number of the person listed first on the return, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.

8) Electronic Payments - Electronic payment options are convenient, safe and secure methods for paying taxes. You can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal, or use a credit or a debit card. For more information on electronic payment options, visit IRS.gov.

9) Extension to File - By the April due date, you should either file a return or request an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.

10) IRS.gov - Forms and publications and helpful information on a variety of tax subjects are available around the clock at IRS.gov. You can also check the status of your refund after you file your return by clicking on Where's My Refund?.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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ABOUT MANAGING YOUR MONEY
Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

About the contributors

D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit www.morganstanleyfa.com/ringer
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of CardHub.com, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and WalletHub.com, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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