Consumer Watch: Last minute tax tips
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
The clock is ticking for people who still haven't filed their taxes, but worry not because Fox 25 Consumer Watch has your back with information that will save you time, and help you keep your sanity.
This month is especially busy for tax payers and tax preparers alike. That’s because one out of three tax filers don't file until April, so if you haven't done it, you are not alone. If you are getting help to file know that you may feel a bit of a time crunch, but it is still totally do-able.
Here are the top two mistakes to avoid if you are just now filing your taxes.
1. Not accounting for life changes: having a child, buying a home, or even just starting a saving account for your first home, could get you a tax break.
2. Not knowing how your filing status can affect you: People often only think about filing as married or single, but there are five filing status categories. There are clear rules for filing under each one.
Sheryl Craig, a district general manager in Central Oklahoma with H&R Block says the average tax payer can expect for the process to take a certain amount of time once they have provided their paper work to a tax professional.
“Most tax returns take an hour to an hour and a half to complete while you are sitting here,” says Craig.
Some tax preparers may allow you to drop off your paperwork and return once they are done, so ask about that possibility if you are tight on time. If you are one of the majority of American’s hiring someone to help file taxes, know that many tax preparers are open for extended hours up until the deadline, but if life has just gotten in the way and you may be unable to file, there is still an option.
“Well your options are, first of all, if you can sneak in, we are open seven days a week including Sundays.
But if you don't have everything you need, you need to file an extension and that has to be filed by April 18th as well," says Craig.
If you do file an extension, and think you will owe money, you will have to make a payment because at least 90 percent of the balance due. If you are expecting a return, and file an extension, you don't need to pay anything.
This year is also the deadline if you have not filed your 2013 taxes. If you believe you are owed a return, April 18 is your last shot. If you file any later, you cannot claim a refund.