If you like to wait until the last minute to file your tax return, you are in for some good news. This year you will have an extra three days to procrastinate. The IRS has made it official that taxpayers do not have to prepare and file their tax returns for 2010 until April 18th (be aware that some states are still April 15th, so check with your state tax agency on their deadline). The reason for the extension is Emancipation Day. Emancipation Day is a District of Columbia observed holiday and this year it falls on April 15th. By law any holiday observed by the District of Columbia is to be treated the same as a Federal Holiday when it comes to the tax deadline, meaning tax payers get extra time to file. Additionally, if you request an extension you can wait until as late as October 17th to file.
You Can Still File Earlier than April 18th
Even though the tax deadline has been extended, for those who prefer not to wait until the last minute, you can of course file earlier. There is one glitch however, and that is if you itemize, you will not be able to file your return this year until sometime later in February. Due to new tax codes that were passed in late December of last year, the IRS is scrambling to update their systems and will not be ready to process certain claims until that time.
If you itemize your deductions using the1040 IRS Schedule A form you will have to wait. Additionally, any teachers who plan to deduct classroom supplies and any students and parents who will claim the Higher Education Tuitions and Fees Deduction will also have to wait. While you can prepare your returns now, the IRS has asked you to hold off on filing them until they give you the go ahead. If you are at all unsure whether or not you can file your return now or if you should wait, you can consult with a tax advisor.
Do You Qualify for Assistance?
Many people do not realize that they qualify for assistance when it comes to preparing and filing their tax return. If you, as an individual, make less than $49,000 per year you may be eligible for assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which offers individuals free help in preparing your tax return. Additionally, you may also be able to file electronically without paying a fee.
If you are over the age of 60 you may also qualify for tax preparation assistance through free tax counseling services as well as basic tax income preparation. This assistance is provided through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly.
Finally, there is a Free File option sponsored by the IRS that is available for anyone. It provides options for tax preparation through brand name software as well as fillable on line forms and free e-filing. Everyone is eligible to use the Free File program to prepare and file their return.
How to Check On Your Return Once it’s Filed
After you have filed your return, you will be able to check your status, just by visiting the IRS website. You will need to wait about three days after filing for the IRS to acknowledge receipt of your return. After that time it is as easy as going to the IRS website and entering some simple information like your social security number, filing status, etc.