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Don't Be An April Fool About Your Taxes

Here are eight things to know about the final weeks before the tax deadline.

Don't let the joke be on you this April. Here are eight things to know about filing your taxes:

  • This year's as usual, due to a District of Columbia holiday. If you forget and get your taxes in early, though, there's no harm done (except maybe a little unnecessary last-minute panic).
  • You can request a six-month extension to file your federal taxes—Californians get an automatic extension on their state taxes—but this does not give you more time to pay.
  • Last year, 70 percent of individual tax returns were e-filed. About 80 percent of the taxpayers who got refunds opted for direct deposit.
  • If you e-file and choose direct deposit for your refund, you can get your money back in as few as 10 days.
  •  Watch out for fraudsters using the IRS logo in unsolicited emails about refunds, surveys, etc. asking for your personal and financial information. The IRS does not reach out to taxpayers that way.
  • Make sure you're taking all of the deductions and credits you're eligible for.
  •  Don't feel like you have to spend a bundle to get your taxes done. There are a number of free tax prep options, such as the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for taxpayers whose income is generally $49,000 or less. People who make less than $58,000 can e-file for free at IRS.gov. The Fillable Forms Feature also allows all taxpayers, no matter their income, to file for free.
  • Choose your tax preparer wisely.

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