With the tax filing deadline close at hand, the IRS offers some tips for those still working on their paper tax forms:
Choosing to e-file your tax return instead of preparing a paper tax form is the best step you can take to ensure that your return is accurate and complete.
When you file a paper return, the numbers to check most carefully on the tax return are the identification numbers - usually Social Security numbers - for each person listed. This includes the taxpayer, spouse, dependents and persons listed in relation to claims for the Child and Dependent Care Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security Numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.
Taxpayers filing paper returns should also double-check that they have correctly figured the refund or balance due and have used the right figure from the tax table.
Taxpayers must sign and date their returns. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.
People sending a payment should make the check out to "United States Treasury" and should enclose it with, but not attach it to the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, if used. The check should include the taxpayer's Social Security number, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.
Taxpayers should either file a return or request an extension of time to file by the April 15 due date. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
"Go to IRS.gov and visit '1040 Central' to learn about your options for paying taxes when you don't have the money. You may be able to work out monthly payments, or you can put it on a credit card," said Clay Sanford, an IRS spokesman. "For those who cannot resolve their tax debt immediately, an installment agreement can be a reasonable payment option."
Sanford stressed to make sure you file on time, though, even if you can't pay. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date. See IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for a variety of easy ways to apply for an extension. Form 4868 is available by clicking here or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).