On Your Side: Tax tips as the 2018 filing deadline nears
Thanks to the weekend and an Emancipation Day observance in Washington, D.C., the 2018 IRS filing deadline has been moved back to Tuesday, April 17 — so, you still have two days to get your taxes e-filed or postmarked for delivery to the Internal Revenue Service.
Here are a few helpful tips for last-minute filers:
- FILE YOUR TAXES ON TIME: the IRS will charge you penalties and interest if you don't e-file or postmark your tax forms by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday. If you need to, you can apply for a tax extension at IRS.gov or by clicking here. The extension will also carry over to your state of Ohio taxes, as long as you send the state proof of your extension. The drawback is, you will still have to pay a federal estimate of your taxes — and you still have to sort out the paperwork in the next six months.
- FILE FOR FREE, IF YOU CAN: tax-eligible Americans who make less than $66,000 in gross adjusted income — meaning after your deductions — can file for free using several tools on the IRS' "Free File" webpage. You can click here to learn more. The program applies to about 70 percent of Americans who owe taxes, and is a cheaper option than most standard online services or a professional tax preparer or CPA.
- AVOID FRAUDS AND SCAMS: it's a desperate time of year, coming right down to the deadline — but don't fall for scammers! Remember, the IRS will never contact you by call, text or email. If someone on those platforms claims to be from the IRS, simply hang up or don't reply. While you're at it, avoid professional tax preparers who base their fee on the size of your tax return. They're just out to take more of your money!
- DON'T EXPECT A BETTER RETURN THIS YEAR: whether it ends up being good or bad for you, the Republican tax overhaul that was passed at the end of 2017 will not play out in this year's returns. The tax plan deals with taxes for 2018 and onward. This year, you're still technically filing your 2017 taxes and receiving that year's return.