Who says there's no free lunch? Many business are offering free food, massages or other goods and services to celebrate the April 15 filing deadline.
This post is by Jody Mace at Living on the Cheap.
Read on to learn about food offers as well as some help with paperwork, and even a free massage to work out those muscle knots.
These are national deals, but participation might vary, so it would be prudent to call ahead.
The tax agency reportedly plans to track tax cheats on social media. So be careful if your posts don't match your reported income.
This post is by Kay Bell of Bankrate.com.
That famous George Bernard Shaw quote was uttered well before the advent of social media. But it's worth pondering as we head into the home stretch of the 2013 tax-filing season.
While all the information collected by the Internal Revenue Service is protected by strict privacy statutes, the federal tax collector is well within his investigative rights to peruse what you choose to make public. So you might want to reconsider bragging on Facebook about buying a Ferrari when you're reporting just a $30,000 annual income on your Form 1040. Or at least tighten up the privacy controls on your social media account.
Many people enjoy getting tax refunds. But it makes better financial sense to adjust your withholding and use your money all year. Here's how to do that.
This post is by Tom Herman of The Wall Street Journal.
Getting a tax refund may seem like a safe and reliable way to force yourself to save. If that's the only way you know how to save, so be it. But for most of us, there is a better option.
As you struggle with your 2012 income-tax returns, consider reviewing your tax withholding, estimated tax payments, or both. If you overpaid your taxes last year and are eligible for a big refund, you may benefit by making some changes for this year. Many people could use the savings to pay down credit-card debt, student loans or other obligations.
The IRS will grant an automatic extension to anyone who asks. But you still have to estimate what you owe and send the money.
This post is by Laura Saunders of The Wall Street Journal.
For taxpayers who can't manage the April 15 deadline, the Internal Revenue Service offers an automatic six-month filing extension. This year the due date is Oct. 15, and taxpayers qualify by filing Form 4868.
Getting an extension is preferable to filing a return with mistakes, says Melissa Labant, a tax specialist with the American Institute of CPAs. "If you have already filed, then you will need to amend the return, which is often more trouble," she says.
Remember that an extension to file isn't an extension to pay. Uncle Sam wants 100% of the total tax by the April due date, or interest and perhaps a late-payment penalty will be due.
Because the IRS charges taxpayers a hefty fee to use plastic, it's usually not a good deal. If you don't have the cash, other options could cost you less.
This post is by Jason Steele of Credit.com.
And while some are vaguely aware that there are ways to pay taxes with their credit cards, few really understand the benefits and drawbacks of these options.
Here are the basics.
A plain vanilla return is usually safer than one that stands out. But if you have deductions that are above average, it's OK to take them.
This post is by Kay Bell at Bankrate.com.
Some of the information that you provided to us does not agree with the information we received from other sources.
— The Internal Revenue Service
You've just joined an elite club, one whose initiation ritual is an IRS audit.
Unfortunately, you can't refuse membership — and the dues could be astronomical.
In your rush to get your return filed on time, watch for these pitfalls. Some can be difficult and expensive to fix.
This post is by Laura Saunders at The Wall Street Journal.
Despite the year-end cliffhanger on Capitol Hill, lawmakers made few surprising changes to the tax code for 2012.
But that doesn't mean taxpayers won't stumble into trouble, given the rise of electronic filing, expanded reporting requirements, computerized document matching — and old-fashioned human nature.
Common problems fall into two general categories. One involves flubs for which taxpayers must fork over interest and penalties — or get a smaller refund. The second category of pitfall includes major quagmires that require enormous of amounts of time, money and trouble to resolve.
Make sure you're getting all the deductions you should for your mortgage, charity efforts and work life. But don't raise any red flags.
This post is by Matt Twomey at CNBC.com.
And then there are some deductions that could raise red flags for the IRS and get your return kicked back to you — or worse, trigger an audit.
Two simple rules that can save a lot of hassle are 1) Don't be sloppy; take your time to avoid careless mistakes; and 2) Think like the IRS, which likes matching numbers. If your mortgage deduction claim is different than what the bank reported, for example, red flags will rise.
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