Five Tips to Speed Up Tax Filing

1. What’s in a filing date? Tax returns or an extension must be filed by Apr. 15. However, all taxpayers can get an automatic extension by filing Form 4868, which extends the due date for their returns until Aug. 15. Keep in mind that an extension of time to file is not an extension to pay. If you do not send the IRS what you think you owe in taxes by Apr. 15, you’ll be subject to late fees and interest.

2. Check for hidden deductions. There are a number of deductions that small-business owners and the self-employed do not think of when filing taxes. If you work out of your home, your office may qualify for a deduction. The same applies to the use of your car for business. Do you drive to the post office or a client site? Those miles may add up to a deduction.

3. Look for help. Even small businesses on a tight budget can get quality tax-filing advice. The IRS offers a toll-free help line, 800 829-1040, as well as a number of free publications on their Web site offering assistance in filing a tax return.

4. Check your math. Most of the mistakes on tax returns are simple addition and subtraction errors. Check your math. Then, check your math again.

5. Retirement savings are deductible up until Apr. 15. You can count money put into retirement savings up until the day you file and still count it on last year’s tax return.

Keith Hall TaxTalk Consultant National Association for the Self-Employed Grapevine, Tex.

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