Tax day is stressful for all of us, and we thought it might be useful for all of you procrastinators out there who are scrambling to put their final touches (hopefully!) on their returns, some tips for surviving the next 24 hours:
1. File An Extension:
It's late in the game, so first thing to do is file an extension. It is easy to do, just sign the form. But remember: this gives you an extension to file the return, not pay your taxes. Make sure you still write a check for your estimated taxes. "As long as you are within 90% of what you owe, you should be fine," Dustin Stamper, a manager in the national tax office of Grant Thornton, said.
2. File Electronically:
Filing your returns electronically is easy, and you will get your rebate back faster than if you file via snail mail. Another added perk? The IRS will notify you immediately if you have made any errors, like the wrong Social Security number or home address.
3. Cross Your T's, Dot Your I's:
Okay, well if you choose not to listen to Number 2, and file through the U.S. Post Office, then make sure you triple check all the information you have filled out. It's also a good idea to make sure you include the check before sealing the envelope and mailing the return.
"I know it sounds silly, but the small things can make a big difference," John Evans, a partner at BDO Seidman, told the Huffington Post. "For example, make sure you don't send your state taxes in the envelope marked 'federal' and vice versa."
4. Use The IRS Web Site:
If you are filing in a hurry, and have some unanswered questions, make use of the IRS Web site, which can be found at www.irs.gov. On the upper right hand corner of the site is a search window; type in a question, and up will pop the answer. "The answers the IRS provides are very clear and well-written. Even tax lawyers like me use the site," Hale Stewart, a tax lawyer, said.
5. Stimulus Rebates:
You may be eligible for a larger stimulus check than you realize. The rebates are based on 2007 returns, but if you qualify for more money in 2008, make sure you check the box on your 1040 form indicating the IRS owes you money. For example, anyone who had a child in 2008 is eligible for another $300. The stimulus checks also phased out for anyone earning more than $75,000, so if that was you in 2007, but that job loss has pushed you below that benchmark, make sure you sign up!