With the April 17 deadline fast approaching, many people are scrambling right now to file their taxes on time. While there is both plenty of time to file a traditional return and the option to file an extension, it is critical to proceed with caution.
Any missteps probably will wind up costing you money.
Here are three ways you can actually lose money by filing your taxes.
- You file an extension but fail to pay the taxes you owe. All tax payers have the right to a six-month extension to file their taxes, they just need to submit Form 4868. They can also file an extension request online. But you still have to pay the taxes you owe on time. The extension only applies to the paperwork, not the payment. If you fail to pay by midnight on April 17, you’ll face a penalty and you’ll also have to pay interest on the rest of the money you owe.
- You make a mistake on your return. Typos can cost you a lot of money. The three most common errors are math mistakes (less likely with available tax software but still a concern), an incorrect Social Security number, and the failure to sign or date the tax return. At best these mistakes will delay your refund, at worst they’ll result in penalties. Do not file in haste. If you’re running out of time, file an extension, pay if you owe, and either complete your return carefully yourself or, even better, hire a tax preparer to complete it for you.
- You don’t claim your refund in time. You have three years to claim a refund. If you file your tax return more than three years after it is due, you forfeit your right to your refund in most cases. In this case, procrastination could cost you a significant amount of money.
The IRS offers many helpful tips on its website. If you have any additional questions regarding your tax return, please call or email our office. Though they been especially busy preparing returns this year, our tax department is always available to answer any questions you have.