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10 Last-Minute Tax Tips

10 Last-Minute Tax Tips

April 10, 2012

April 17 -- the deadline to file your taxes -- is just around the corner. The IRS offers the following 10 tips for taxpayers still working on their returns.

1. File electronically using IRS e-file. Not only is IRS e-file safe and easy, but it's also become the norm. IRS e-file has surpassed the milestone of 1 billion returns processed after more than 20 years of secure service. Last year, 112 million income tax returns -- 77 percent of all individual returns -- were filed using IRS e-file.

2. Consider paying electronically. In addition to filing electronically, also consider paying electronically if you owe a payment. Electronic payment options are convenient and safe methods for paying taxes. You may authorize an electronic funds withdrawal or use a credit or debit card. For more information on electronic payment options, visit www.irs.gov.

3. Check identification numbers. Carefully check identification numbers -- usually Social Security numbers -- for each person listed. This includes you, your spouse, dependents and persons listed in relation to claims for the Child and Dependent Care Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.

4. Double-check your calculations. If you are filing a paper return, double-check that you have correctly calculated the refund or balance due.

5. Check the tax tables. If you are filing using the Free File Fillable Forms or a paper return, double-check that you have used the right figure from the tax table.

6. Sign your form. You must sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.

7. Mail your return to the correct address. If you are mailing a return, find the correct mailing address at www.irs.gov. Click the "Individuals" tab and the "Where to File" link under IRS Resources on the left side.

8. Fill out your check correctly. If you are mailing a payment, make the check payable to "United States Treasury" and enclose it with, but do not attach it to, the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, if used. The check should include the Social Security number of the person listed first on the return, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.

9. Request an extension if necessary. By the April 17 due date, you should either file a return or request an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.

10. Get last-minute questions answered. Forms, publications and helpful information on a variety of tax subjects are available at www.irs.gov.


These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA), representing banks and thrifts in the state. The IBA serves it members by providing legislative advocacy, training, regulatory compliance and other services designed to enhance the ability of banks to serve their communities. Learn more at www.iowabankers.com.