The good news is there is extra time. Thanks to a local holiday in Washington, D.C., the normal April 15 tax filing deadline got moved by three days. State and federal taxes are due on Monday, which means you get an extra week-end to get all that paperwork completed.
Whether you’ve already filed and are happily awaiting a refund or if you’re just getting started with the annual chore, here are some last-minute tax tips.
NEED HELP? Free tax preparation help is still available for low- and moderate-income individuals and the elderly.
Those with annual incomes below $49,000 can get free help at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites, some of which are open through April 18.
Free IRS tax help is also available to seniors over 60 through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program.
To find the nearest site for either program, call the IRS help line at 800-906-9887 or go to www.irs.gov. The help line is answered by a live IRS staffer, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
FASTER REFUNDS: The fastest refund route is to electronically file your tax return and request that refunds be direct-deposited to your bank account. Taxpayers who do so can expect their refund in seven to 10 days; those mailing a paper return can expect a refund by mail in eight weeks.
To check the status of your IRS refund, call the refund hotline at 800-829-1954 or check online “Where’s My Re-fund?” at www.irs.gov.
There’s also a new smartphone application, IRS2Go, that lets you check your refund status and get IRS tax up-dates. The app is available for Android or Apple devices.
NEED AN EXTENSION? If you can’t gather your paperwork in time, get a tax-filing extension. But note: You still must pay what you owe by Monday, April 18, or face interest fees and possible penalties.
For IRS taxes, an extension is not automatic but requires filing a Form 4868. The extension form is easily filed online using the irs.gov “FreeFile” program.
Those working overseas or serving in the military outside the United States get an automatic two-month extension to file and pay their federal taxes.
E-FILING OPTIONS: More taxpayers than ever — roughly 70 percent — are electronically filing their taxes, ac-cording to the IRS. Go online to www.IRS.gov to check out various e-filing and Web-payment options. In some cases, there are income limits.
For federal returns, the IRS offers “Free File” for incomes up to $58,000 or “Free File Fillable Forms” for any income.