Fourth Down and Goal to Go
by Bob Williams
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In football, few deadline situations are more critical than the fourth down. The offensive team’s had three previous chances to advance, but it’s all come down to the last, all-out attempt that can keep their game alive. And when that fourth down is at the goal line, it’s even more critical.
If you look at your calendar for a moment, you’ll see you may have just that situation inside that big, red circle around April 15. For those taxpayers who may owe tax due, the final whistle blows at midnight – and there is no overtime.
That’s right, any tax due is expected in Uncle Sam’s pocket by midnight, April 15. Extensions (we’ll get to that later) will only give taxpayers extra time to file. There is no extension of time to pay.
Time to Line Up
With seconds to go on the clock in our football analogy, it’s time for the Big Play. Our game plan is simple: E-file on 1040.com and waltz into the end zone before the clock runs down. So let’s huddle up and we’ll tell you how to score.
You want to bring all your stuff to the game, so that means your paperwork – W-2s, 1099s, receipts and the like. And even though time is tight, if you’re missing something – like a W-2 for example – you still have time to get an electronic copy from your employer. Once you have the paperwork you’re good to get started.
We make it easy to cruise through the process on 1040.com. First, fill in all the sections on the Name & Address screen. This is a critical step, since the software uses your filing status and other entries to help calculate your return. Did you live in more than one state during the tax year? You’ll probably want to select “I Lived in Multiple States” in the Resident State field. That way, the software knows you moved around.
Next, answer the questions under each of the headings: Dependents, Income, Deductions & Credits, and Wrapping Up. The answers will be used to help suggest the forms you’ll need to accurately complete your return. You also can pull up forms directly.
Our State Return category helps you through doing a return for any state that has income taxes. Most state returns are completed automatically, using information you entered for your federal return. There are exceptions, depending on your tax situation and the state.
To bring up any federal form directly, click Review, scroll down to the forms search search box, type the name of the form in the search box, and hit Enter. You can choose the form from the pop-up menu.
The Big Play
When you have your information ready, it’s time to start your run for the goal line. Click Review, and use the Continue button to progress through the web pages toward e-filing. If your return has any problems, our software will tell you what they are, and suggest ways to fix them.
Once your return’s been sent, we’ll send you an email when the IRS or the state accepts it. What could be easier?
About That Extension Thing …
Okay – in some cases, getting an extension is probably a good idea. Like when that balky employer just won’t send you the W-2 until after the tax deadline. Or your student loan interest statement has disappeared and the lender apparently is in no hurry to send out a new one.
In that case, log into your return at 1040.com, and click on My Return at top left. Click the blue “Get a Federal Extension” box at right, and you’re on your way. When it’s accepted, you’ll have until Oct. 15 to file your 2013 return.
Just remember, any tax due is way overdue in October. You’ll need to pay that before the April deadline. There’s no penalty for filing for a return with a refund after the April deadline, though.
Whether e-filing an extension, or sending in the real McCoy, remember your deadline is midnight on April 15. And the seconds are counting down …
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