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Tax Day 2014, the sequel: Oct. 15 Filing Extension Panic

The year's second tax-filing deadline isn't as much fun as Sharknado 2, but for many taxpayers it can be just as frightening as the campy Syfy channel classic.

Tax_time_alarm_clock_pagadesign_iStock_000019192870XSmallFolks who've put off filing until the absolute last minute -- and I must admit I was one of the millions of procrastinators, filing our 2013 federal return just last week -- often find themselves still working on their taxes on Oct. 15.

That's OK. You have until midnight local time to e-file it. Or until your post office's last mail pick-up for an Oct. 15 postmark if you're sending paper forms.

The key today, as in April, is not to panic.

You gave yourself extra time so you could do the job right. Make sure you do just that.

Today's Weekly Tax Tip looks at 10 common mistakes you should avoid any tax filing time. They include:

  1. Math miscalculations
  2. Computation errors
  3. Misspelled or different names --
    Take note for next year Mrs. Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin).
  4. Direct deposit account numbers
  5. Additional income
  6. Filing status confusion
  7. Social Security number errors/omissions
  8. Charitable contributions
  9. Signature issues
  10. Missed deadline

Take a minute to check out the tip details at Bankrate. Then use the 10 errors as a checklist for your finally finished return before you submit it.

Bonus last-minute IRS tips: The Internal Revenue Service also has a vested interest in you getting your 1040 right.

Sure, the tax collector wants to get the proper amount of tax from each of us. But IRS employees also want to deal with us only once. A correct filing will make that happen.

To make that so, the IRS also issued some last-minute filing tips. They include:

Check to ensure that you've claimed all the tax breaks for which qualify.

If you find you owe taxes beyond what you paid when you got your extension and can't pay the full amount due, don't panic. File and pay what you can to reduce interest and penalties for late payment. Then check out the IRS' Online Payment Agreement tool to ask for more time to pay. Also look into the possibility of filing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your tax return.

If you can pay all you owe, use IRS Direct Pay to settle your tax bill. The online payment system doesn't require the advance planning of the similar Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS.

You can save some money if you qualify for Free File. As the name indicates, eligible taxpayers -- that's those of any filing status whose 2013 adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less -- can use the no-cost online tax filing option through today.

Make sure you do have to file today. Some people get even more time. This includes members of the military and others serving in a combat zone. If this applies to you, you typically have until at least 180 days after you leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due.

Many states also have special tax breaks for service personnel.

And speaking of states, don't forget to file your state tax returns. Most follow the same deadlines as Uncle Sam, so if you got an extension at that level, those state forms are due today, too.

You also might find these items of interest:


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