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Because of the COVID-19 scourge, the deadline for filing your federal tax return (and paying a balance due if you have one) is extended to May 17th. And while the thought of doing your taxes may be intimidating, there’s no reason to wait or procrastinate. Online self-preparation tax software, like ezTaxReturn, makes doing taxes fast, easy…almost fun. You don’t need to like math, and you don’t need to be a tax expert. Getting a fast refund and avoiding the stress of last-minute filing are just two of many reasons to file early. Here are some helpful tips to make doing your taxes easier.

Using tax software makes filing a lot easier

Filing electronically is the quickest and safest way to get your return to the IRS.  Using tax software makes life a lot easier because they handle all the forms and calculations for you.  As long as you provide accurate information, you’ll get accurate results.  There are plenty of tax preparation programs on the market, but ezTaxReturn.com is the fastest and easiest.  The one-size-fits-all program covers what most taxpayers need. 

Make sure you have all the necessary tax documents

Being organized speeds up the filing process and makes it easier to claim the tax breaks you deserve.  Most people received their W-2 at the end of January but if yours is still missing, you can contact the IRS for a substitute.  Keep in mind, you’re expected to file on time no matter what.  For a complete list of other documents you may need, check out our “Tax Prep Checklist”.

Double check your entries to prevent mistakes

You’re more likely to make mistakes when you’re racing against the clock.  Even if you’re starting to feel the pressure, take a minute to double-check your entries before e-filing.  Make sure you’ve entered the correct personal information for you, your spouse and dependents.  If the information doesn’t match what IRS has on file, your return will be rejected, and you’ll need to spend even more time on your return. 

Know the consequences of missing the deadline

For every action there is a reaction.  If there’s a strong possibility of missing the tax deadline, we suggest you educate yourself about the potential consequences.  If the IRS owes you a refund, congrats!  You won’t be penalized but you do need to hurry up and file so you can get your money.  Those who owe the IRS won’t get off so easy.  The penalty for failing to file on time starts at 5% of your unpaid taxes.  After 60 days, the minimum payment becomes $435 or 100% of your unpaid taxes.  Whichever amount is less. 

The penalty for being unable to pay your full tax bill is a lot less expensive.  The penalty starts at 0.5% of your unpaid taxes but can climb up to 25% if you really drag your feet on paying the IRS their money.  Along with the penalties, you’ll also pay interest for every day your payment is late.  If you’re having a hard time paying your complete balance, at least file your tax return and put down as much money as possible to minimize the penalties.