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Tax crunch time is here: What to do (and not do) this week

The deadline for most people to file their 2023 taxes is Monday, April 15. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you file.
Posted at 8:22 AM, Apr 08, 2024

We are counting down the final week to tax day — April 15 for most people this year.

Whether you file by tax day or request an extension, the key is filing on time to avoid penalties and other costly mistakes.

It's crunch time for Gina Pinto and her employees at her Liberty Tax office.

"You will be surprised how many people wait," she said. "Every year we see people walk in the door at 11 p.m., April 15."

But waiting until the last minute creates problems, she said, because many taxpayers forget important forms.

"A lot of people don't bring all the documentation they need," she said, and then she has to send them back home again.

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A 1040 tax form

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Mark Steber with Jackson Hewitt agreed, saying it's important not to miss the deadline, but also saying you don’t want to lose sight of the need for accuracy. For instance, he said, if you’re still waiting for a W-2 or 1099, don’t assume it’s coming.

"Just because you didn't get it doesn't mean you can leave it off your tax return," he said, because there is a very good chance the IRS did get that form and is aware of that income.

Steber said you should track down any missing forms by reaching out to your employer or other issuer. Still can't find it? You will want to request an extension.

However, he said another common mistake is thinking an extension gives you more time to pay.

It doesn't.

"If you're going to owe taxes, you have to have those paid in on time by tax day, April 15, or run the risk of penalties and interest," he said.

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The Internal Revenue Service 1040 tax form for 2022 is seen on April 17, 2023.

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And if you’re anticipating a refund, there’s really no reason to delay. For last-minute tax help in person, however, Steber said to watch out for fake tax preparers you may find advertising on social media.

Warning signs of a shady tax preparer, he said, are that they:

-Guarantee a large refund.

-Won’t tell you the refund amount.

-Refuse to sign your tax return.

Your best bet is to stick with a major name tax service, whether online or in person. Gina Pinto said whether you are doing it yourself or visiting an office like her Liberty Tax office, "Don't wait, don't wait."