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Tax Day: Last-minute tax tips for procrastinators

April 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Tax Day has arrived and the procrastinators who have yet to file their taxes will have until midnight tonight to submit them.

If you owe money this year, the IRS has several options for you:

  • You can pay online with credit or debit cards.

  • You may request an installment plan where you're able to choose your monthly payment as long as it's paid off in 3 years.

  • And if payments are troubling for you this year, the IRS has a website where you can assess your tax scenario, payments and penalties beforehand and avoid common errors.

The H&R Block in Hollywood will be open until midnight for Americans who have put off filing to the last-minute.

Experts say even if you're not ready to pay your taxes, the worst thing you can do right now is ignore the deadline completely. Those who owe and don't file on time could face a penalty of 5 to 25 percent.

"The heaviest fine is up to 25 percent for not filing at all," said Frank Brito, H&R Block. "If you come in and I get you a free extension, you'll be able to avoid that and you get six months to figure out how you're going to be able to pay the balance due."

An extension allows you to delay your payment to the IRS till October 15.

And just because you owe money doesn't mean you might not still qualify for new deductions.

Since last year, there were over 4,000 changes to state tax codes and more than 1,000 changes to federal ones.

"Some of the most common deductions that are overlooked are charitable donations," said Eileen Brown, H&R Block. "There are instances where you're actually supporting your mother and they don't need to live in the home."

In the rush to meet the deadline, Brito says it is easy to overlook any tax deductions you may have and make mistakes.

"During the course of our season, we've seen lots of people miss deductions on their dependents, also if you've purchased a vehicle the sales tax on that vehicle is something you can write off, medical expenses, and just a whole bunch of little ones we can go over."

Make sure to bring all your documents if filing today and or have H&R block overlook your tax returns if you feel you need them double-checked.

If you are mailing your tax returns today, there are several post offices that are working overtime to ease the last-minute rush. Several post offices will stay open until midnight depending on the location.

On Sunday, TurboTax, went offline startling many last-minute filers who had problems entering the popular tax-filing software. Officials shortly announced the site was up and running but the glitch caused a social media frenzy on Twitter.

Tax Day freebies

To make paying Uncle Sam a little less painful, some retailers are offering freebies Monday to help relieve your tax-day woes:

You can get free curly fries or small potato cakes at Arby's.

Chili's is offering a free appetizer or dessert if you buy dinner.

You can pick up two free bites from Cinnabon between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Heading to the movies? AMC is also giving away free small popcorn.

And if you need some coffee to get you through filing all those forms, McDonald's is offering up free small coffees.

For more information on the deals and to print out coupons, visit www.taxdayfreebies.com.


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