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With A Week Until Tax Day, Get Your Tax Questions Answered

Mark Lennihan/AP
/

Photo of a blank federal income tax return.

Federal income taxes are due to the IRS on April 18 -- one week from Tuesday.

Last month, we addressed some of your questions about your taxes, but some of us are procrastinators, and still need some help.

Luckily, Raphael Tulino of Internal Revenue Service is back with us to answer questions.

One of the biggest questions so close to the deadline is what do you do if you're not ready to file. Tulino said file an extension immediately, but remember you'll still have to pay on time.

“It’s an extension of time to file not necessarily to pay. So if you owe, or you think you owe, then next Tuesday is still your deadline. What happens if you don’t pay is you risk penalties, interest can accrue on your account, and at some point, you may owe more based on that.”

He also said about half of people filing a return will do it themselves and about half hire a tax preparer to do it for them. Most people who prepare it themselves use tax preparation software.

“If you can kind of navigate the internet a little bit, in terms of the shopping cart and shopping online, it’s not too much harder with the software kind of asking you the right questions and having your paperwork there to navigate through it.” 

If you are going to use a tax preparer, he says to make sure the person has a PTIN or preparer taxpayer identification number. 

“The key is your situation is you’re providing these folks or this person with your personal intimate financial information in terms of what’s going to go on that tax return so you want to be able to trust them. You want to make sure they’re filing and looking out in your best interest and filing an accurate return”

Click Here to go to IRS.gov

TOP TEN TIPS FROM THE IRS:

Gather your records:  Round up any documents you will need when filing your taxes, including receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you will be claiming on your tax return. Store them in a safe place.

Report all your income:  You will need all your Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and 1099 income statements to report your income when you file your tax return. To ensure you don’t misplace them, add them to your other records.

Get answers to questions:  Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool available on the IRS website to find answers to your questions about tax credits and deductions.

Use Free File:  There is at least one option available for everyone to prepare and e-file a tax return at no cost. Let IRS Free File do the work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It's available exclusively at IRS.gov. If your income was $57,000 or less, you qualify to use free tax software. If your income was higher, or you are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there's Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Visit IRS.gov/freefile to review your options.

Try IRS e-file:  IRS e-file is the best way to file an accurate tax return. It’s safe, easy and the way most taxpayers file their return. Last year, more than 80 percent of taxpayers used IRS e-file. Many tax preparers are now required to use e-file. If you owe taxes, you have the option to file early and pay by April 15.

Weigh your filing options:  You have several options for filing your tax return. You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer. You may be eligible for free, face-to-face help at a volunteer site. Weigh your options and choose the one that works best for you.

Use direct deposit:  Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest and safest way for you to get your refund.

Visit the IRS website:  The IRS website at IRS.gov is a great place to find everything you need to file your tax return. This includes many online tools, filing tips, answers to frequently asked questions, the latest tax law changes, forms and publications.

Remember number 17:  Check out Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, on the IRS website. It’s a complete tax resource that includes information such as whether you need to file or how to choose your filing status.

Review your return:  Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double check all Social Security numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors. If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Start with IRS.gov.

IRS Resources:

IRS Podcasts:

Raphael Tulino, IRS

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Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)