By Henry Ochoa
Are you waiting till the last second to file your taxes for 2017? The Internal Revenue Service is expecting around 70 percent of tax filers to receive a tax refund this year. Read the last-minute tax filing tips below to ensure that your filings go as smooth as possible, even if you are stressing for more time before the tax filing deadline on Tuesday, April 17.
- Save money when filing your taxes by using the IRS Free File Software. The IRS Free File is available to any individual that makes less than $64,000 a year. This form also gives you the opportunity to fill free state tax returns as well.
- Do you make more than $64,000 a year? The IRS offers Free Fillable Forms that will require you to have your 2015 tax return.
- If you owe taxes, do not delay payment. The IRS has a 5 percent late fee for every month that the taxes are not paid. The late fee is capped at 25 percent of the worth of the unpaid taxes for that year.
- Did tax season sneak up on you? That’s okay. The IRS offers a free six-month extension if you cannot file by April 18. Take advantage of this to give you the time needed to get all of the paperwork sorted out to fill out your taxes correctly the first time.
- Need assistance filing? The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free services to people who make below $54,000 a year. VITA is staffed with knowledgeable, IRS-certified staff to assist you with the electronic filing.
- There may be a delay in tax refunds for 2017 if you claimed the earned-income tax credit (EITC) or the child tax credit (ACTC). Congress passed a new law in 2015 called the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2005. This was done in order to protect American taxpayers from identity thieves trying to capitalize on tax credits that would cause a federal refund.
- File your returns electronically in order to ensure that you get your federal refund efficiently. Filing your taxes electronically offers plenty of benefits, like not having to go to the post office and wait for your tax forms to arrive to their final destination, and being able to set up direct deposit for your refund.
- If you are expecting to receive a refund, this is a perfect opportunity to use that money and pay off any debts that you have or to save it towards retirement.
About the Author: Henry Ochoa is a consultant at Logical Media Group, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Chicago.