YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – With the tax deadline just a little over a month away, the pressure is on for procrastinators who still haven’t filed their taxes.
If you’re one of those people waiting until the last minute, financial professional Ray Ream, owner of Cottonwood Associates, has a few helpful tips.
April 15 has been ingrained in our brains as “tax day,” but this year, it falls on a Saturday. So, because April 17 is also a holiday this year — Emancipation Day in Washington — it pushes the deadline to 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18.
According to IRS.gov, “two of the most common mistakes on tax returns are listing an incorrect social security number or doing your math wrong.”
TIP 1: Ream suggests for procrastinators to double check their work, because these errors can cost you money in your tax refund or flag you for an audit.
A lot of people think filing an extension is a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily “frowned upon” by the IRS. In fact, the IRS prefers for people to ask for an extension so they can get it right the first time.
TIP 2: Ream suggests to ask for an extension if you can’t get all of your paperwork together by the deadline. This will give you an extra six months to file so you avoid getting a late filing fee.
Along with a late filing fee, the IRS also charges a fee if your payment is late.
TIP 3: Ream suggests to make your best estimate if you owe money on your taxes, because you still need to pay by April 18. Then, make sure you get your return filed by October 16.
Don’t forget, you can still get hit with a late payment fee if you owe money on your taxes. So, whether you file an extension or not, that money is due by April 18.
The longer you wait to file, the longer it takes the IRS to process your return. So, if you are expecting a refund, you’ll have to wait longer to get your money.
TIP 4: Ream suggests e-filing and using direct deposit to get your money quicker. Once you’ve filed, you can track your refund through the IRS.
People can file for free on the IRS’s website, if you file a qualifying return. Or, people can e-file with one of several different tax filing companies online. Depending on your annual salary, some of these sites will allow you to file your state and federal taxes for free, but most people will have to pay some sort of fee.
By getting your tax return in early, the IRS is more likely to recognize a fake return being filed in your name.
The IRS says it will never contact you through phone, email, text or social media to get your personal or financial information. They also won’t call you about taxes you owe without mailing you a bill first and they won’t require you to pay a certain way, such as through a pre-paid debit card.
TIP 5: Ream suggests to follow your gut when figuring out if you are being scammed. If you are, contact local authorities.
For more tips and information, visit Cottonwood Associates’ website.