Your last minute guide to getting your taxes done
Today is April 15th. It’s Tax Day. Many have already filed their returns and gotten their refund checks. But there are some that haven't. Tax lawyer Bill Dendy says that if you're panicking about it, you shouldn't be.
“If you’re getting money back, it’s not that big of a deal. We have three years from the due date to get that return in and get our money back,” Dendy said.
CPA Bob Fumagalli says this might be the one year where it would have been a good thing to wait on doing your taxes.
“There were some firms preparing returns that filed returns before the IRS was ready. Those returns are being held up,” Fumagalli explained.
That is a result of the fiscal cliff negotiations that went down to the wire in late December.
So what if you owe the government money? Dendy says the IRS will help you out.
“They have several programs. They are willing to work with you to figure out what is affordable and even have the taxes reduced,” Dendy stated.
Dendy says you should never pay someone to work out a deal with the IRS. And he wants you to make sure you don’t find yourself in hot water with the IRS by making simple mistakes can trigger an audit.
“Don’t make stupid mistakes. Like inverting your Social Security number or get their math wrong. A lot of mistakes are made by people using paper returns,” Dendy explained.
The best bet according to Fumagalli is to file online.
“I also suggest direct deposits. When you file online and you use direct deposit, you get your money quickly,” Fumagalli explained.
If you have put your taxes off until the last second because you know you owe money, Dendy has a word of advice. File. And file on time.
“Even if you can’t pay, file. The filing penalty is so much worse than the penalty for not paying,” Dendy said.
Post Office Won’t Save You This Year
If you have waited until the last second and have decided to mail your return in to the IRS instead of filing online, the Postal Service says you better show up during normal business hours.
“Because most people are filing electronically, we are not extending our hours. The demand is just not there,” said Dionne Montague, a USPS spokesperson.
There is one office in the area that will be open late, though.
“The Foxbrook office in Humble will be the last office to close. It will close at 10pm tonight,” Montague said.
If you can't get to Humble, the Barbara Jordan office downtown will be open until 7.
Montague says to make sure you pay attention to the collection times if you're putting your return in a blue box.
“If you drop it in the box after the last pickup that piece of mail will not be cancelled with the April 15th date,” Montague said.
Montague also wants you to make sure you have the right amount of postage on your returns. Anything less than one ounce will cost you 46 cents. Anything heavier will cost you more.