April 15: You Want Options -- You Got Options

04/10/2015 03:42 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2015

This year, your federal tax return is due Wednesday, April 15. The best way to get your return to the IRS by the deadline, reduce tax return errors, ensure calculations are correct, and be warned of common errors or missing information is to file your return electronically. If you don't have a TaxPro that can do it for you, see if you qualify for IRS Free File. Just make sure to use the correct routing and account number, incorrect numbers can cause a refund to be delayed or deposited into the wrong account.

If you don't want to file electronically, then be sure to use the proper address on your paper return. Check the IRS website for where to file to avoid delays. Also keep in mind, you must sign and date your return, and if filing a joint return, both spouses must sign and date the return. Attach all required documents, such as Forms W-2, to your return. Attach all other necessary forms and schedules in the sequence number order shown in the upper right-hand corner of each form. Make a copy of your entire, completed, signed return and all the documents you are attaching for your records.

You can file Form 4868, which gives you an automatic six-month extension to file your taxes, if you need more time. Assess your situation right now and determine if you should file that extension to give you more time to organize your paperwork, recharacterize an IRA, or get your hands on that corrected form you've been waiting for. Just remember, that even with the extension of time to file you do not get an extension of time to pay your taxes - if you owe, the payment must be made by April 15, or you may be penalized. And, even if you cannot afford to pay your taxes, file an extension or your tax return or you may be liable for a failure to file penalty.

The IRS offers a number of options for taxpayers to handle taxes due. If you cannot pay off your entire tax debt by April 15, then Form 9564, Installment Agreement Request is how you can set up a payment plan with the IRS. Even easier than filing the paper form, the IRS offers an Online Payment Agreement tool. The online tool allows you to set up a direct debit installment agreement so every payment is made on time with excellent.

One of the most convenient options is IRS Direct Pay. You can schedule payments to be deducted directly from your checking or savings account with IRS Direct Pay. It is secure, easy, and you get an immediate confirmation of your payment.

Long story short, file by April 15, even if it is an extension request. If you owe, pay as much as you can as soon as you can.

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