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Tips to Make Filing Less Taxing

IRS Tax Tip 2013-39, March 22, 2013

Doing your taxes shouldn’t be taxing. This year you can make preparing and filing your federal income taxes easier. These tips from the IRS can help.

  • Don’t delay. Avoid doing your taxes at the very last minute. If you rush to meet the filing deadline, you may overlook possible tax savings. You are also more likely to make an error.

  • Visit IRS.gov. Go online for tax news and information. Make “1040 Central” your go-to source for filing tips, tax tools and news.

  • Use Free File. If you made $57,000 or less, prepare your return using free, brand-name tax software. If you made more than $57,000 and you’re comfortable doing your own tax return, use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Go to IRS.gov/freefile to access IRS Free File.

  • Try IRS e-file. Whether you do your own taxes or have them done for you, you should try IRS e-file. E-file is the safest, most accurate, easiest and most popular way to file a tax return. If you owe taxes, you can file now and delay your payment until the April 15 filing deadline.

  • File on time. If you owe taxes when you file your return but you can’t pay what you owe by April 15, you should still file on time and pay as much as you can. This will minimize penalties and interest charges. If you cannot pay the total amount of tax you owe you may request an installment agreement. Most people who owe taxes are eligible for one. You can apply using the Online Payment Agreement tool on the IRS.gov website. On the Homepage click on ‘Tools’ and then click on ‘Online Payment Agreement.’ You can also apply using Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

  • File an extension. If your return is not ready by April 15, you can get an automatic extension for an extra six months. E-file your extension using the Free File program. You can also get an extension using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Visit IRS .gov to download and print the form, or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have the form mailed to you. Allow at least 10 days for mailing. You should e-file or mail your extension, and pay any tax due, by April 15.  An extension gives you extra time to work on your return, not more time to pay.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 25-Nov-2013