Tax (in) time: How to file those last minute taxes

04/15/15 by Jackie Russo

As the April 15 tax deadline looms large, plenty of would be filers haven't even touched a receipt, looked over their W2 or had even the slightest inclination to start thinking about that 1040 form, no matter how easy it might be.
Why exactly do we wait so long to file our taxes, or even prepare them at all?
That question isn't an easy one, since so much diversity abounds as it relates to taxes. Maybe you're in the midst of counting up all the money you made on that 1099 Form and realize that you'll be paying more than just a few bucks this year. In fact, those couple of dollars have turned into thousands, so you're hardly in a rush to start paying that any time before you absolutely have to.

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You also might be inclined to wait just because you can. Getting all that tax information rolling through the mail or in your slot at work in January or February doesn't exactly put the process at the front of your mind. That paperwork probably sits comfortably in a drawer in the kitchen or the office, only to be pulled from the wreckage that is your "junk" drawer some time around April 15.
But if you've waited this long to file your return, don't fret because you are hardly alone. Some statistics indicate that as many as 50% of Americans file on April 15 by midnight.
The good news is that technology and older means of filing accommodate for the procrastination. The former comes in the form of a multitude of tax programs, from H&R Block to Turbo Tax, all of which are inexpensive to buy and incredibly easy to use. They'll allow you to press send by midnight with little worry that it will be received on time.
If you're still interested in filing via mail, the post office is open until midnight, and you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see a line of cars waiting to drop off their payments or returns, so you won't feel totally alone.
But waiting until the very last minute, you also want to make sure you have taken a long, hard look at the return and make sure you've looked for errors or mistakes before you mail it or file electronically. The most common mistake, according to the IRS, is missing signatures or information filled out incompletely. That is going to cause issues, and those were brought on because you're rushing to the post office at 11:59 p.m., or having internet connection issues as you try in vein to file online.
If you can't manage to file some time well before April 15, you might be part of the norm but the process will be anything but normal and smooth. Waiting this long just means you'll have to be extra careful with dotting all the "i's" and crossing all the "t's" in the hopes that you finish up with at least a few seconds to spare.

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