Consumer Watch: Last minute tax preparation tips

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 10, 2012 at 4:39 PM

(WHAS11) -- Time is running out to complete your federal tax return. Good Morning Kentuckiana’s Andy Treinen presents expert tips for procrastinators in Tuesday’s Consumer Watch.

The clock is ticking, but experts say not to panic if you haven't started your federal tax return yet. 

“Step back, take a deep breath, sit down at the computer, go online, get it together. And then once you're done, just eFile. That's the easiest, most convenient way to actually get through this process,” said Turbo Tax contributor Vera Gibbons.

If you are unable to get an accountant on the phone, Gibbons said tax preparation software is one option. It can be especially useful for catching valuable deductions and credits.

“The American Opportunity credit, for education, for tuition, college costs -- that one's worth up to $2,500 and you've got the Child Care credit, that's worth up to 35% of your child care costs,” said Gibbons.  “So these are the kinds of breaks you want to make sure you're claiming if you're eligible to claim them.”

You can file for a six month extension, but keep in mind that extending filing time does not stop the clock on paying a balance.

“It's an extension to file. Not an extension to pay. if you owe the government money, you've got to pay them your best estimate of what you think you owe by April 17th, there's no way around it,” said Gibbons.

The deadline is Tuesday, April 17.  With April 15 falling on a Sunday and a holiday on Monday in the District of Columbia, those who still need to file taxes should take advantage of those two extra days.

Click here to email Andy if you have a consumer issue you would like investigated.

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