Do you know what today is?
It’s the last Sunday before April 15, is what it is. Your federal tax return, and probably your state return, are due in three days. Three. Days.
If you’ve got this handled, you can stop reading now. But if you’re one of those people for whom tax season is a major source of stress– even depression and anxiety– read on for some tips from the IRS on how not to pull your hair out.
- Don’t procrastinate (any longer). You could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and wait even longer to open that file of receipts… but don’t. Start now. Right this minute.
- Visit the IRS website. It may be counterintuitive, but avoidance is not going to help. In your heart, you know this. Go to irs.gov, which is chock-full of useful and easy-to-use info. Click on “File Your Tax Return” to get great options.
- Use Free File. If you made $60,000 or less, you can do your taxes online for free—no need to buy any packaged software. Check it out at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free.
- Don’t panic if you can’t pay. If you think you owe but don’t have the dough, file your return anyway. Send as much of a payment as you can manage now to avoid (or lessen) penalties and interest. According to the IRS, more than three-quarters of taxpayers eligible for a payment plan (called an “Installment Agreement”) can apply using the web-based Online Payment Agreement application available at irs.gov. Just type “Online Payment Agreement” in the search box. And if you’re in that last quarter, you can still contact the IRS to discuss payment options.
- Request an extension of time to file—but pay on time. You can get an extension of time to file till Oct. 15, but any taxes due are still due Wednesday. See number 2, above.
Most of the information in this post came right from IRS Tax Tip 2012-50, “Six Tips for Reducing Tax-Time Stress.” Nevertheless, I’m not a tax advisor and I don’t speak for the IRS. But if you’re stressing about the April 15 date of doom—don’t. Take some action, any action, like going to www.irs.gov and reading about how to get started. You’ll feel better.