Review tax returns carefully. Taxpayers who rush to beat the deadline may miss a tax benefit or, worse, make a mistake. Errors usually delay tax refunds and could cause the IRS to send a letter.
Validate e-signature. If a taxpayer changed tax software products for 2017, they may need their prior-year adjusted gross income to validate their electronic signature. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign a tax return at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return. Always keep a copy of tax returns.
Use IRS Free File. Taxpayers who made $64,000 or less can use free tax software to prepare their federal tax return. Free File Fillable Forms is available for those who made more than that. These are electronic versions of IRS paper forms.
File electronically. Kick the paper habit and e-file. IRS e-file is safe, easy and accurate. Taxpayers are 20 times less likely to make a mistake with an e-filed return compared to filing a paper return. Tax software catches and corrects common paper filing errors. It also alerts users to overlooked tax credits and deductions.
File on time. Taxpayers who owe but can’t pay in full by the April 18 due date should still file on time and pay as much as possible. This will reduce potential penalties and interest charges. For unpaid taxes, people may apply for an installment agreement to pay over time. The easiest way to apply is to use the Online Payment Agreement application on IRS.gov.
Request an extension of time to file. People can request a six-month extension electronically through tax software, including FreeFile, by using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Taxpayers may also make an electronic payment and designate it as a “Form 4868” payment. A reminder: An extension of time to file a tax return is not an extension of time to pay taxes owed. Be sure to e-file or mail the form and pay an estimate of any tax due by the April 18 due date to avoid penalty and interest charges. The IRS has the flexibility to work with those who cannot pay all taxes owed.