Tax deadline looms on Monday
Tax season is almost over, and the IRS expects some 450,000 Alabamians to on Monday, April 15. Filing late can mean harsh penalties, and the IRS requests even those who cannot pay all they owe to file on time.
For those who plan to wait until the last day of the season, which is Monday, April 15, there are several tips that may make the situation more expedient.
Dan Boone, media relations specialist with the IRS, said that while a filing extension does not mean you have extra time to pay, it is easy to receive one by phone. Filing on-line can be low-cost or even free.
"Even if you won’t get a refund, e-filing it is still the best way to file.
You get a practically error-free return, notification that the IRS got the return and you can file today and designate April 15 as the day for the taxes to come out of your bank account," Boone said.
Workers with children may receive up to $4,008 if they have two or more qualifying children, but anyone who worked in 2001 with a yearly income of $32,121 or less generally has credit available.
"Many people who don’t make enough to be required to file a tax return could get this credit if they would only file. And if you didn’t get a tax rebate last year, here’s a second chance.
"Use the rate reduction worksheet to see if you’re entitled to get it on your 2001 tax return. Also, dependents who file a 2001 tax return may be entitled to a similar tax credit," Boone said.
To find out if you are eligible,
see your tax computation worksheet for certain dependents. However, Boone advises you to read instructions carefully; over four million taxpayers made mistakes in calculating these credits.
Boone said "paper tax returns have an error rate of about 18 percent," but e-filed returns "are usually less than 1 percent." However, if you do use a paper tax return to file, eleventh-hour filers tend to make the most mistakes. "The IRS recommends reviewing your entire tax return to be sure it is accurate and complete. Even a simple mistake can cause problems with your tax return, which might lead to delays in processing your return and receiving your refund," Boone said.
There are certain "trouble spots" on your tax return to watch out for, such as making corrections. Boone urges taxpayers to use the peel-off label provided; you can line through or make corrections right on it.
"Be sure to fill in your Social Security number in the box provided on the return. It is not on the label. If you do not have a peel-off label, fill in all requested information clearly, including the Social Security numbers," he said.
Boone also said to check only one filing status on your tax return, and to check the correct exemption boxes; correct Social Security numbers must be entered for each of those exemptions. Also, using the correct tax table column for your filing status is a must, as well as double-checking all figures, as "math errors are a common mistake."
"Sign and date the return, and if filing a joint return, both spouses must sign and date the return. Attach all forms W-2 and any forms 1099 that reflect tax withheld. Attach all other necessary forms and schedules, in the order of the ‘Attachment Sequence No.’ in the upper right corner of each form," he said.
Lastly, Boone said that if you owe tax, enclose a check or money order, made payable to the United States Treasury, with your return.
And if you did not receive the advance tax payment (or tax rebate) last year, Boone once again reminds you that you may qualify for the rate reduction credit for certain dependents.
Boone said taxpayers can file an installment agreement by attaching form 94f65, the installment agreement request, to the front of your tax return. There is a $43 fee and interest must be paid, usually 0.5 percent of the balance per month.
This interest drops to 0.25 percent, he said, "when the IRS approves the agreement for an individual taxpayer who filed the return on time and did not receive a levy notice.