MOUNTAINSIDE – With the April 15 tax deadline approaching, here are five tips for New Jersey taxpayers from the Internal Revenue Service that will help the tax filing process run smoother than ever this year.
“These tips may minimize your tax time stress and may save you money,” said New Jersey’s IRS Spokesman Gregg Semanick.
The tips are as follows:
Don’t Procrastinate: Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Rushing to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error.
Visit the IRS Website: In 2009, more than 296 million visits were made to IRS.gov. Make 1040 Central at IRS.gov your first stop to learn the latest news and find answers to your questions.
File Your Return Electronically: Last year, two out of three tax returns were filed electronically. More than 800 million tax returns have been processed safely and securely over the past 20 years. Use e-file and direct deposit to get your refund in as few as 10 days. E-filed returns have a much lower error rate. Taxpayers receive a fast acknowledgement that the IRS received the return, a service not available to paper filers. You can e-file through your tax preparer or commercial software. Or, you can use Free File, a service offered by the IRS to prepare and e-file your federal return for free.
The Free File program can be used by taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $57,000 or less. Also, consider the Free File Fillable Forms program; virtually everyone qualifies to use this free filing option. All free file options are only available on the IRS.gov Web site. Even if you do not qualify or opt not to use the free filing options, taxpayers can still e-file through the IRS.gov Web site at nominal or low cost.
Don’t Panic if You Can’t Pay: If you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe by the April 15th deadline, you should still file your return by the deadline and pay as much as you can to avoid penalties and interest. You should also contact the IRS to discuss your payment options at 1-800-829-1040. The agency may be able to provide some relief such as a short-term extension to pay, an installment agreement or an offer in compromise.
More than 75 percent of taxpayers eligible for an installment agreement can apply using the Web-based Online Payment Agreement application available on IRS.gov. To find out more about this simple and convenient process type “Online Payment Agreement” in the search box on the IRS.gov homepage.
Request an Extension of Time to File – But Pay on Time: If the April 15 clock is about to run out, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file until October 15. However, this extension of time to file does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. If you have not paid at least 90 percent of the total tax due by the April deadline you may also be subject to an Estimated Tax Penalty.
To obtain an extension, just file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The easiest way to file a Form 4868 is through Free File at www.irs.gov/freefile . Form 4868 is also available at IRS.gov or you can call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) and have a paper form mailed to you.
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