Q&A with Lea Crusberg
Taxpayers can reach April 15 deadline with aid of online tools
Q: With the April 15 tax filing deadline looming, do you have any last-minute tips?
A: Taxpayers should be sure to gather all the records they need to file their taxes. This includes receipts, canceled checks and records that support income, deductions or tax credits. Be sure to report all your income from all of your Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and Form 1099 income statements when you file your tax return, and doublecheck your Social Security Number to make sure you’ve reported it accurately. I encourage taxpayers to use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov, which can provide answers to many of their questions about tax credits, deductions and many more topics.
Q: What are the benefits of E-File for taxpayers?
A: It’s accurate, safe and easy. Of the more than 1.6 million returns expected to be filed in Oklahoma, we expect more than 1.4 million will be filed electronically.
Q: What are some resources for taxpayers who still need to file and have limited incomes?
A: Taxpayers who make $58,000 or less are encouraged to use Free File. Fourteen commercial software companies provide their Free File tax prep products at no cost and offer them at IRS.gov/freefile. You can prepare and e-file a tax return for free using IRS Free File, available exclusively on IRS.gov. For individuals who have a higher income, or those who are comfortable doing their own tax return, they can use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Visit IRS.gov/freefile to check your options.
Q: What percentage of taxpayers receive refunds, and what’s the fastest way to get your refund?
A: About three of four filers typically get refunds, and the IRS issues more than nine in ten of these refunds in fewer than 21 days. As of March 21, taxpayers have received an average refund of $2,980. E-file, when combined with direct deposit, is the fastest way to get a refund.
Q: What if you’re not ready to file by April 15?
A: You can get an automatic six-month extension, if you E-file your extension request using the Free File program or complete Form 4868, which can be found on irs.gov. In Oklahoma, we estimate more than 160,000 taxpayers will file an extension this year. Please be aware that an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay. If you owe taxes and don’t pay by April 15, late fees and interest will apply.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER