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Reminders, Helpful Tips for Last-Minute Tax Filers

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With the April 15 tax filing deadline right around the corner, the Internal Revenue Service offers taxpayers who have not yet filed a few last-minute tips. 

Don’t Miss the Deadline
If you have a balance due and don’t file a tax return by April 15, you face interest on the unpaid taxes as well as a failure-to-file penalty. Interest and penalties are added to your balance due. If you can’t file by the deadline, request an extension of time to file (see below).  

If you file on time or request an extension but don’t pay all or some of the balance due by the deadline, you will incur interest on the unpaid amount and a failure-to-pay penalty. If you can’t pay the full amount, you should pay as much as possible by the deadline to minimize interest and penalties.

Get Recovery Tax Breaks
Last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created a full slate of tax breaks, which can be claimed on tax returns right now. These include:

The Homebuyer Credit
Making Work Pay Credit
American Opportunity Credit
Home Energy Credit
New Car Tax and Fee Deduction
You can get information on these and other Recovery credits at IRS.gov/recovery.


File Electronically
Most tax returns are now filed electronically – either from home using purchased tax software, by a tax professional or through Free File. 

There are several reasons the IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. Here are two big ones: 

E-file is accurate: Most available tax preparation programs check for errors and missing information, reducing the chances of delayed refunds or follow-up correspondence from the IRS.  

E-file is fast: With most tax software, you can file a state tax return at the same time you file your federal return. Once a return is accepted for processing, the IRS electronically acknowledges receipt of the return. And refunds take only about half the time of a paper return. If you choose direct deposit, you will get your refund in even less time.

Try Free File
Free electronic filing is available to everyone. 

Traditional Free File is software with step-by-step help available to anyone whose 2009 adjusted gross income was $57,000 or less. The only way to access Free File is through the IRS Web site, IRS.gov. As the name implies, there is no charge for this service. 

For those whose incomes exceed $57,000, there is Free File Fillable Forms. Free File Fillable Forms, also available through IRS.gov, allows a taxpayer to fill out and file tax forms online. You enter the necessary information, sign electronically, print the return for recordkeeping and then e-file the return right to the IRS. Since there is no step-by-step help, Free File Fillable Forms may be best if you are comfortable with the tax law and know which forms to choose.

Choose Direct Deposit for Refunds
Whether you file electronically or on paper, your refund can be automatically deposited into the bank or financial account of your choosing. Direct

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