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Wednesday December 13, 2017

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Tax Deadline Tips

As the April 18 filing deadline approaches, more than 40 million taxpayers are rushing to complete their 2016 tax returns. In IR-2017-80, the Service offered last-minute filing tips.

Refunds will be quicker and more accurate with electronic filing. Taxpayers may direct their refunds to as many as three different bank accounts. IRS Form 8888 explains how to allocate if you want to use more than one bank account to receive your electronic refund.

You should double check your bank routing number and account number. The IRS has been issuing most electronic refunds within 21 days. You may check "Where's My Refund" on www.IRS.gov or the smart phone app IRS2GO.

If you use a paper tax return, you should attempt to avoid common errors. Fill in all Social Security numbers, including those of your dependents. Check your filing status and exemption boxes.

To calculate taxes due, check to see you have used the correct row and columns on the tax table. Be sure you sign and date the return (two signatures are required for joint returns).

Recheck all of your attachments. You may have W-2 forms from more than one employer. If you itemize, Schedule A must be included with your return.

Finally, mail the paper return to the correct address. If you mail on the evening of Tuesday April 18, check to see that the post office will postmark your return before midnight.

Some of the 40 million taxpayers will need to extend their filing date. You may extend for six months by filing IRS Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return. You still must estimate and pay your 2016 tax by April 18. Failure to pay tax may trigger penalty and interest charges.

If you owe tax with your paper return, include a check or money order payable to "United States Treasury" and attach IRS Form 1040-V Payment Voucher. If you cannot pay your taxes, you may be able to setup an Online Payment Agreement on www.IRS.gov.

Editor's Note: The vast majority of taxpayers now use electronic filing. Their income tax software protects against most common errors that cause problems with paper returns.

Published April 14, 2017
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