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Taxes are due in a week! Don't panic. Use 7-day filing plan

Tax_time_alarm_clock_pagadesign_iStock_000019192870XSmallAre you freaking out because you have one week -- seven days -- to do your federal (and, for many, state) taxes and you haven't even started the process?

Don't. You can get a lot done in one week.

And to help you get a handle on your impending tax task, check out my slide show on Bankrate breaking down a seven-day tax filing plan.

Here's a preview:

  1. Gather data.
  2. Examine exemptions, adjustments to income.
  3. Decide on your deductions, deduction method.
  4. Find your forms.
  5. Count your credits.
  6. Fill out your forms.
  7. Sign, seal and deliver.

Actually, I have a personal Day 8 step: Party!

Postponing the tax party: Unfortunately, my own taxes-are-done celebration won't start until later this year, probably pretty close to the Oct. 15 filing extension deadline.

That's right. I am planning on getting six more months to finish my tax paperwork. Insert your own physician heal thyself, barefoot cobbler's children joke here.

But I will still follow the steps above because I need to figure out just how much the hubby and I will owe Uncle Sam for 2012 and send that amount along with our Form 4868 extension request.

If I -- or you, too, if you're filing for an extension -- don't, we'll end up owing even more in penalty and interest charges.

But the biggest penalty is for not filing anything, either your 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ) or Form 4868. So get some type of paperwork to the IRS by midnight on Monday, April 15.

Check out tax tips: To make sure you don't cheat yourself of valuable tax-saving breaks, either this final filing week or later if you get an extension, check out not only the ol' blog, but also Bankrate's annual tax guide.

At both places you'll find beaucoup tax tips, like this one, which is today's Daily Tax Tip.

To help in your tax tip search, I've collected all the 2013 tax-saving tidbits on monthly pages in which they first appeared: January, February, March and the still-growing April list.

We'll keep them coming through April 15.

Then we'll transition to weekly tax tips for those of us who love taxes so much that we'll keep working on ours for a few more days, weeks or months!

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