The Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers to double check their returns for often-overlooked tax benefits and then file their returns electronically or paper. Taxpayers who purchase their own software can also choose e-file, and most paid tax preparers are now required to file their clients’ returns electronically. Free File, either the brand-name software, offered by the tax agency’s commercial partners to individuals and families with incomes of $58,000 or less.
Although Oct. 15 is the last day for most people, some still have more time, including members of the military and others serving in Afghanistan or other combat zone localities who typically have until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due.
Before filing, the IRS encourages taxpayers to take a moment to see if they qualify for these and other often-overlooked credits and deductions:
- Benefits for low-and moderate-income workers and families, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. The special EITC Assistant can help taxpayers see if they’re eligible.
- Savers credit, claimed on Form 8880, for low-and moderate-income workers who contributed to a retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k).
- American Opportunity Tax Credit, claimed on Form 8863, and other education tax benefits for parents and college students.
- Same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, are now treated as married, regardless of where they live.
Anyone expecting a refund can get it sooner by choosing direct deposit. Taxpayers can choose to have their refunds deposited into as many as three accounts. See Form 8888 for details.
The new IRS Direct Pay system now offers taxpayers the fastest and easiest way to pay what they owe. Available through the Pay Your Tax Bill icon on IRS.gov, this free online system allows individuals to securely pay their tax bills or make quarterly estimated tax payments directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration. Other e-pay options include the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) electronic funds withdrawal and credit or debit cards. Those who choose to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the “United States Treasury.”
Taxpayers with extensions should file their returns by Oct. 15, even if they can’t pay the full amount due to avoid the late-filing penalty, normally five percent per month. Interest, currently at the rate of 3 percent per year compounded daily, and late-payment penalties, normally 0.5 percent per month, will continue to accrue.
Taxpayers can also request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov and mailed along with a tax return, bill or notice.
For additional information or assistance please contact our office at (239) 261-8337.