CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - April 10, 2014) - With the tax-filing deadline fast approaching there is little time to procrastinate. For people still stressing over their tax returns, here are a few quick tips from the Illinois CPA Society to help smooth the process and, perhaps, alleviate some concerns.
Your return is considered timely if it's postmarked or electronically submitted on April 15, 2014.
File Even If You Can't Pay
The IRS can impose penalties for returns filed after April 15, 2014 without an extension. File a return even if you can't pay all that is owed. You can arrange to pay what you owe over time.
Consider Filing for Extension
If you're not ready to file your taxes, you can file for an automatic six-month extension using form 4868. Better to have a complete return in October than an incomplete or inaccurate return in April. Don't forget, however, that the form allows an extension of the time to file, not the time to pay. Any unpaid taxes are stil due by April 15.
Devil's in the Details
Many schedules and forms have additional questions that are easily missed. Read to the bottom of each form, and if you're using tax software, use the long form interview.
Credit vs. Deduction
When faced with a choice to take a credit or a deduction, don't always choose the largest number. The two aren't necessarily equal. Deductions are a dollar for dollar reduction in taxable income while credits are a dollar for dollar reduction in tax.
"Small" Things Add Up
Include deductions for medical and charity volunteer mileage and donations to second-hand shops. Remember, if you itemize, those dollars can add up quickly. And don't go overboard on valuing used items -- this is a hot button for IRS scrutiny.
Sign and date your return. The IRS won't process it if it's missing your signature, and that means on e-filed returns, too. Taxpayers filing electronically must sign the return electronically using a personal identification number (PIN).
Free Help is Available
If you have a simple return and income less than $50,000, contact IRS VITA at 1.800.906.9887 for site locations and hours.
Find a CPA
Every taxpayer's situation is unique and there are many nuances to filing taxes and understanding tax returns. CPAs can help make sense of your taxes and ensure that you are in compliance with the IRS. Use the free "Find a CPA" Directory on the Illinois CPA Society's site, www.icpas.org, to locate a CPA in your area.
About the Illinois CPA Society
The Illinois CPA Society, founded in 1903, is one of the largest state CPA societies in the nation. For more than a century the Society has advanced the highest ethical and financial standards of the profession, and remains a leader in educating the public on financial issues.