1. Organize Your Tax Records. Tax preparation time can be significantly reduced for taxpayers who organize their records and receipts. Start with the income, deduction or tax credit items that were on last year's return.
2. Don't Procrastinate. Don't put off doing taxes until the last minute. Hurrying to meet the filing deadline may cause a taxpayer to overlook potential sources of tax savings and could increase the risk of making an error.
3. Use Electronic Refund Options. One way to speed up an expected refund and reduce the chance of theft is to have the refund amount deposited directly to the taxpayer's bank account by the IRS.
4. Double-Check Math and Data Entries. Taxpayers should review their return for possible math errors and make sure the names and Social Security numbers or other identification numbers for themselves, their spouse and dependents are correct.
5. Verify your W-2's & 1099s. Look over your W-2's and 1099s and whatever forms that are sent to you are correct. Verify that the amounts are correct.
6. Don't Panic if Immediate Payment Is Not an Option. For those who can't immediately pay the taxes due, consider some stress-reducing alternatives. A taxpayer can apply for an IRS installment agreement, suggesting their own monthly payment amount and due dates, and getting a reduced late payment penalty rate. Taxpayers who file their tax return or a request for an extension on time, even if they can't pay, avoid potential late filing penalties.
7. Request an Extension of Time to File. If the clock runs out, taxpayers can get an automatic four-month extension of time to file, to August 15. The extension itself does not give a taxpayer more time to pay any taxes due. The taxpayer will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if at least 90 percent of the total tax due has not been paid by April 15.