Listen up procrastinators, you’ve avoided your taxes for long enough. Waiting until the last-minute to file only adds more stress to a task many people already find confusing. But don’t worry, we have some last-minute tax filing tips that can make the process as painless as possible.
Know the tax deadline
Normally, Tax Day is April 15th but since it falls on a weekend this year, you have a little extra breathing room. Your 2022 tax return is due April 18, 2023. Time tends to fly by quicker than you think, so get moving now.
Have all the necessary documents
Doing your taxes goes a lot smoother when you have everything you need at your fingertips. Before you sit down to prepare your return, track down all your tax documents. If you have a simple return, chances are you’ll just need:
- A photo ID
- Your W-2, Wage and Tax Statement
- Social Security Numbers (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) for you, your spouse and any dependents
- Birth dates for you, your spouse and any dependents
- Banking information for your refund
- A copy of your prior year tax return
For those with a more complex tax situation, we suggest using our Tax Prep Checklist to get organized.
File your taxes online
When you’re racing against the clock, every second counts. E-filing is the fastest way to get to the finish line. ezTaxReturn saves you time by only asking questions relevant to you. There are no forms and calculations to slow you down. Just ez tax returns. The best part is you may be able to file your federal return for FREE. Depending on where you live, you may just have to pay a small fee for your state return.
Import last year’s data to speed up the process
If you plan to use the same tax program you did last year, you can save time on your last-minute tax filing by using prior-year import. With the click of a button, last year’s information will be automatically transferred into this year’s return. You’ll just need to provide updated numbers.
Double-check your return
Nothing slows down a refund like careless mistakes. Even though you’re rushing to complete your last-minute tax filing, you still need to make time to double-check your return. Tax software can detect certain errors, but it doesn’t know whether the information you’re providing is accurate. Therefore, you’ll need to do your due diligence. Before clicking “E-file my return”, make sure you:
- Entered your Social Security Number (SSN) correctly.
- Spelled your name right.
- Reported all your income.
- Provided the correct banking information.
It may seem silly, but these kinds of errors happen more often than you think.
Use the right address if you plan to mail in your return
No matter how much e-filing grows in popularity, there are still some people who rather to do their taxes online then print and mail it in. If that is your preference, check the IRS website to find out where to mail your return. Choosing the right address can be tricky because it depends on the state you live in, the form you’re filing and whether you’re enclosing a payment. Be sure to write the address clearly and use the correct postage. The last thing you want is for your forms to be “returned to sender”. The IRS is already facing significant delays processing paper returns and any mishaps on your end would delay your refund even further.
Note: The IRS considers your tax return on time if it was postmarked by the filing deadline.
Request an extension if you can’t meet the deadline
Not everyone is able to get their taxes done by the deadline and that’s alright. The IRS will grant you more time to file but you need to request an extension no later than April 18th. Doing so will give you an additional six months or until October 16th to file without penalty. To request an extension, you’ll need to complete and submit Form 4868 to the IRS.
Pay by Tax Day
Don’t be fooled, requesting a tax extension doesn’t give you more time to pay your balance if you owe the IRS. They still expect their money by Tax Day. Any unpaid taxes will begin accruing penalties and interest on April 19th. Even if you can’t afford to pay the full amount, at least put something towards the bill to minimize the blow.
Know what the penalty is for filing late
Whether you can afford to pay your tax bill or not you still need to file on time. It only takes 30 minutes when you use ezTaxReturn.com. If you owe the IRS and miss the tax deadline you will be penalized for each month your return is late. The penalty for failing to file on time is 5 percent of your unpaid taxes. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $450 or 100 percent of the tax owed, whichever is smaller. The penalty for not paying your full balance by the deadline is 0.5 percent of your unpaid taxes. In both cases the penalties can climb up to a maximum of 25 percent.
The good news is if you’re owed a refund and don’t file by the deadline you won’t be penalized. The IRS just won’t issue your refund until you file your return.
Consider all your payment options
Normally when people owe the IRS they choose to pay via check, direct debit or credit card. However, you also have the option of applying for a payment plan and paying your balance off over time. If you filed your return and owe less than $50,000 in tax, penalties and interest, you may qualify for an installment agreement. The IRS also offers a short-term payment plan for those who owe less than $100,000 in tax, penalties and interest. You can apply on the IRS website or through your tax software provider. Fees may apply.