Tax filing deadline is nigh. Are you ready?
Don't look now, but the April 18 tax filing deadline is just around the corner. For those of us still plugging away, the good news is that it's easier than ever to file.
Spencer Ainsley/Poughkeepsie Journal/AP
Don't look now, but the calendar says that April 18 is just around the corner, which this year means income taxes are due.
Most US taxpayers have already finished, and millions are expecting refunds averaging about $3,000.
For those of us still plugging away, the good news is that it's easier than ever to file.
Here are some reminders about the various ways to file, and some resources that might help on the final weekend before the deadline.
Our "Tax Day" series has covered tax deadlines (state taxes don't necessarily share the federal due date), various tax breaks for homeowners, a new way to check the status of your refund, plus a nudge about Schedule M and other credits that might save you money. If you're unemployed or financially struggling, the options we've linked to here might ease the tax burden.
In an era where taxes increasingly are done online, we've also got your back covered with some tips on protecting yourself from data thieves.
How to actually file? "E-file is the norm," the Internal Revenue Service says, adding that last year nearly 100 million taxpayers did some version of electronic filing. It can save you time and postage fees, and will make a refund from the IRS arrive faster.
You can also send a good old paper return, but be sure to mail it to the right place, with the right postage paid.
If you owe money on your return, the payment options also vary, and we'll mention some of the major options.
When sending a payment by mail, include Form 1040-V, a payment voucher. Whether you file on paper or electronically, the IRS says it's fine to pay by phone or online using a credit or debit card. If you e-file using tax software or the services of a tax professional, you can also pay by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal.
If you can't pay the full amount, the IRS offers options including an installment agreement you can apply for online.
Looking ahead to what you owe for 2011, the IRS offers tips on knowing if you need to send estimated tax payments on a quarterly basis, and how to do it right.
Finally, before you file, last-minute reminders from tax experts include the idea that it may be better to seek an extension from the IRS, rather than risking money by rushing your return.
Tax Day 2011:
Part 2: What's new for homeowners?