Fairfax, VA – By now, most taxpayers who are receiving an income tax refund have filed and may even have received their refunds. But for those who will owe money to the IRS, April 15 seemed a long way off when they got their W2 form from their employer. With less than three weeks to go, the tax deadline for everyone is quickly approaching. The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies encourages consumers who have yet to prepare for tax day to start now.
“The first step for consumers who anticipate owing taxes is to learn the amount of their liability,” said Kevin Weeks, president, AICCCA. “The next step is figuring out how to pay.”
To help, AICCCA offers the following tips:
- Find out whether you owe money now. The sooner you have this information the better. Sit down soon to either calculate your taxes or have your taxes reviewed by a tax professional. If you’re still using a paper 1040 form, consider tax software that will help you identify deductions.
- Check all the details. Review all documents included in your tax return. Be sure you have claimed all deductions for which you qualify and make sure your return is signed. Compare your return with last year’s to look for anything you may have forgotten.
- File on time, every time. Filing later than April 15 will cost you in IRS-imposed penalties for late filing. Putting off filing because you don’t have the money to pay will only increase the amount you will ultimately owe if you fail to file on time. If you need more time, the IRS does accept extensions on filing through April 15. Keep in mind that a filing extension is not a payment extension.
- Research your credit options carefully. If you find you must borrow the tax money, be sure to compare interest rates and terms to find the option that is right for you. These include a bank loan, an IRS installment plan and an IRS approved credit card. You’ll pay interest on a bank loan, a processing fee and interest on an IRS installment plan and convenience fees plus interest to credit card companies.
- Adjust payroll withholding. Whether you receive a tax refund or owe taxes, you should review your W4 form annually. If you receive a large tax refund every year, you are essentially giving the federal government an interest-free loan. Increase the number of withholdings and earn interest income on that money yourself. Likewise, if you consistently owe Uncle Sam taxes, you should lower the number of withholdings or have your employer take an additional amount in taxes if you already claim zero on your W4 form.
- Seek help. If you are at a loss as to how you will pay your taxes or would like help budgeting so you will not be in the same position at this time next year, contact an AICCCA member office at 866-703-8787 or visit www.aiccca.org.
.AICCCA: Founded in 1993, Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies is a national membership organization established to promote quality and professional delivery of credit counseling services. AICCCA and its members are focused on financial education, efficient processes and advanced technology to best serve consumers. AICCCA members are independent nonprofit agencies that advocate for debtors and annually counsel millions of consumers.