Spring is here, meaning a young taxpayer's fancy turns to thoughts of finishing that freakin' 1040.
Yes, this is your final weekend before your 1040 is due. So what better way to spend it than finishing your return? Don't answer that. It was rhetorical and I have a pretty good idea of what you'd say (do you kiss your mother with that mouth!?).
But it's a task that must be taken care of by next Thursday, either by filing your 2009 return or getting an extension.
So here are few tips that might help you salvage at least some of your weekend.
First, commit to filing something. Just letting the deadline pass without sending in your return or Form 4868 for an extension is just plain stupid. The IRS penalties for not filing anything are tougher than those for filing but not paying all you owe. So send Uncle Sam something.
Remember, the extension is for forms only. If you owe the IRS, you still need to calculate what you'll owe and send that, or as much as you can, along with your extension request.
You have lots of extension delivery options. You can file an extension electronically. The major tax software programs offer that option.
There's also the specialty service FileLater.com, which will give you a 25 percent discount off the service if you enter the code DONTMESS25. (Disclaimer: I get nothing from the company for passing along this offer.)
Or you can spend 44 cents and mail your extension request. I recommend, however, that you pay the Postal Service a tad more to send it certified, especially if you're making a payment.
You also might be able to send the extension electronically via the IRS' Free File program using one of the private software partners of the tax agency's free fillable forms option.
Of course, if you're sending a payment along via credit card, you'll still have to pay the processing fee for that payment.
Take a deep breath. Once you've decided to get more time, or even if you're still committed to being done with your taxes by April 15, the key now is not to panic.
Getting in a hurry not only ups your personal stress level, it also usually leads to mistakes. You definitely don't want that, as errors will mean you'll end up dealing with your taxes for even longer.
To avoid that, here are some prior posts that should help:
- File Schedule M, or not, and
other tax-filing mistakes not to make
- Are you ready to file your taxes?
- 7 new laws that could save you money
- New forms this filing season
- Some final tax-filing tips and warnings
Get your daily does of tax tips. Also be sure to check out the Daily Tax Tip posted at the top right corner of the blog. If you missed any, you can check out the full tips list, which will be updated each weekday through April 15.
Remember your state tax collector, too. And definitely don't forget your state taxes. Most states that collect income taxes from residents follow the IRS filing deadline.
If you need state forms or info, you can find links at our State Tax Departments page.
There's always additional info. And just for fun, here's some more last-minute filing scoop from around the Internet and blog tax worlds:
- Countdown to April 15 (Bankrate.com)
- Filing an Income Tax Extension (TurboTax)
- Last Minute Tax Filing Tips (Consumerism Commentary)
- 11 Most Popular Reasons for Filing Late or Not Filing at All (Tax Break)
- Reminders for Last-Minute Filers (IRS)
- Last Minute Tax Tips from H&R Block (AllBusiness.com)
- Last-Minute Tax Tips (WomenEntrepreneur.com)
- Tax procrastinators across the nations map (FileLater.com)
Are you feeling a little better about your taxes now? I hope so. And if it's any comfort, I'll be spending my weekend doing our taxes, too!Want to tell your friends about this blog post? Click the Tweet This or Digg This buttons below or use the Share This icon to spread the word via e-mail, Facebook and other popular applications. Thanks!