12 Days of Tax Tips - Don’t Delay, File Today

For many people, April can be the most stressful time of the year! We are fast approaching the ever dreaded Tax Day 2013. But have no fear, we are here with the first in our blog series-12 Days of Tax Tips to get you prepared for a stress free April 15.

One sure fire way to ensure a stress free April 15 is not put off tomorrow what you can do today. There are many reasons people put off tax preparation; one of those being the collection and organization of supporting tax documents.  So go ahead and gather up all of your paperwork, file today, and be done. Preparing to file today will allow you time to gather additional information and documents you might not realize you need until you work through the return.

Another big reason that people often delay filing is because they think they will have a balance due. Waiting to file does not change the amount of your balance. Regardless of when you file your tax returns, even if you file an extension, all balances for the 2012 tax year are considered due by April 15. You are not required to pay your balance in full in order to file your return. If you are unable to pay your balance in full at the time of filing or by April 15, the IRS offers a variety of payment plans and installment agreements to suit any budget.  

Don’t let a little fear of a paperwork or balance due now cost you a lot later. The IRS is concerned with ensuring that taxpayers are compliant with filing requirements first, and collection of taxes due second. Returns for which a refund is expected are typically not charged a late filing fee. However, late filing of more than 3 years in arrears may cause taxpayers to forfeit certain credits for which they would have been eligible. The penalty for failure to file by the April 15 deadline for returns with balances due is 5% compounded daily. Conversely, the interest on an outstanding balance for a return filed by April 15 is 0.5% compounded daily.

Do yourself a favor; don’t delay, file today!  If your household income was $49,000 or less in 2012, we are here to help with a variety of FREE filing options ranging from self-preparation through the Turbo Tax Freedom Edition to quality tax preparation by our IRS-certified volunteers at any of our 40+ VITA tax sites.  For more information on our Atlanta Prosperity Campaign Initiative and services provided, please visit: http://atlantaprosperity.org/services or call United Way’s Helpline 211 (404-614-1000).