Thursday, April 14, 2016
Last-Minute Tips for Filing Your Taxes
Don’t panic if you haven’t done your taxes yet. There’s no time like the present to prepare and file your 2015 tax return. Visit IRS.gov for tax tools and help to make filing less taxing.
1. Don’t delay. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your taxes. If you rush to beat the deadline, you may miss out on tax savings or make a mistake. An error may delay your refund and could cause the IRS to send you a letter.
2. Use IRS Free File. If you made $62,000 or less, you can use free tax software to do your taxes and e-file. If you made more, you can use Free File Fillable Forms. These are electronic versions of IRS paper forms. Free File will also help with the reporting requirements for the Affordable Care Act.
3. Try IRS e-file. No matter who does your taxes, you should file them using IRS e-file. It’s the safe, easy and accurate way to file your tax return. You’re 20 times less likely to make a mistake when you e-file compared to filing a paper return. Tax software catches and corrects common paper filing errors. It also will alert you to tax credits and deductions you may otherwise miss.
4. Visit IRS.gov. Go online for tax information and resources. The Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Trails and IRS Tax Map are useful question and answer resources.
5. File on time. If you owe taxes but can’t pay by the April due date, you should still file on time and pay as much as you can. This will reduce potential penalties and interest charges. If you can’t pay all the tax you owe, you may apply for an installment agreement. The easy way to apply is to use the Online Payment Agreement application on IRS.gov. You can also apply by mail using IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request.
6. File an extension. If you’re not ready to file by April 18 (April 19 for taxpayers in Maine or Massachusetts), you can get an automatic six-month extension. You can e-file your extension request for free using IRS Free File. If you owe tax, you can request your extension when you make a payment with Direct Pay, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by debit or credit card and select Form 4868 as the payment type. You may also file using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Make sure to e-file or mail the form and pay an estimate of any tax due by the April due date.
7. File to reconcile Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit. You must file a tax return and submit Form 8962 to reconcile advance payments of the premium tax credit with the actual premium tax credit to which you are entitled. You will need Form 1095-A from the Marketplace to complete Form 8962. Filing your return without reconciling your advance payments will delay your refund and may affect future advance credit payments.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.