IRS Tax Tips
March 11, 2008 – TT-2008-50
How to Avoid Tax Time Problems
Are you looking for ways to avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? Here are some stress-relieving ideas to help you.
• Don’t Procrastinate Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Your haste to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error.
• Visit the IRS Online In fiscal year 2007, there were more than 214 million visits to IRS.gov and 1.35 billion page views. Anyone with Internet access can find tax law information and answers to frequently asked tax questions.
• File Your Return Electronically Nearly 80 million taxpayers filed their returns electronically in fiscal year 2007. Aside from ease of filing, IRS e-file is the fastest and most accurate way to file a tax return. If you’re due a refund, the waiting time for e-filers is half that of paper filers.
• Don’t Panic if You Can’t Pay If you can’t immediately pay the taxes you owe, consider some stress-reducing alternatives. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement, using our new Web-based Online Payment Agreement application on IRS.gov. The Web-based application allows eligible taxpayers or their authorized representatives to self-qualify, apply for, and receive immediate notification of approval. You also have various options for charging your balance on a credit or debit card. There is no IRS fee for credit or debit card payments, but the processing companies charge a convenience fee. Electronic filers with a balance due can also file early and pay their taxes directly from their checking or savings account on the April due date with no service fee.
• Request an Extension of Time to File – But Pay on Time If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six month extension of time to file to October 15. However, this extension of time to file does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date. See IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for a variety of easy ways to apply for an extension. Form 4868 is available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Taxpayers needing Form 4868 should act soon to be sure they have the item in time to meet the April deadline.