7 last-minute tips for those yet to file taxes | April 11, 2014 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 11, 2014

7 last-minute tips for those yet to file taxes

Remember to pay estimated tax due if filing for extension

by Jeb Bing

With just five days to the April 15 income tax filing deadline, the Internal Revenue Service offers seven quick tax tips to taxpayers.

Raphael Tulino, who handles media relations for the IRS in the Bay Area, Southern California and Nevada, said those who need more time to complete their returns should submit their requests for an automatic extension electronically or by paper on Form 4868 by next Tuesday.

"Ninety percent of tax returns are e-filed and most are using direct deposit for their refund," he said. "For those who have not filed, avoid common errors and hit 'Enter' to e-file."

Seven quick reminders for taxpayers to consider as the deadline nears:

* Get Extra Time to File: An automatic six-month extension to file through Oct. 15 provides taxpayers with an extra six months to file but not to pay. Those who owe should make their payments on or before April 15 to avoid any potential penalties and/or interest.

* Use IRS E-file or Free-File: E-file is safe, accurate, less time-consuming and popular. More than 90% of all returns into the IRS thus far in 2014 are e-filed. In addition, the IRS Free-File program is available to everyone and direct deposit is the quickest way to a tax refund.

* Free Help: Low-to-moderate income taxpayers and seniors can get free tax return preparation at dozens of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites located throughout the Bay Area until April 15. Simple returns and income less than $52,000 normally qualifies for VITA services. Find site locations by calling the IRS VITA toll-free number at 800-906-9887 or by calling 211.

* Don't Miss Out: Be sure to not overlook any applicable tax benefit, credit or deduction. Tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the "Saver's" Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit often fly under the radar.

* Watch out for Tax Scams: The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through email nor does it make phone calls demanding payment for taxes owed on a pre-paid debit card.

* Consider Payment Options: Taxpayers who cannot fully pay a balance due have options such as an installment agreement plan or an offer-in-compromise. The IRS urges those who cannot fully pay their taxes to file a return, pay what they can and let the agency know. IRS has the flexibility to help.

* Get Social with IRS for Tax Information: Several social media tools are available to help taxpayers get the latest tax information and check on tax refund status. These tools include the "IRS2Go" smartphone app, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.