If you are one of the nearly 13 million taxpayers who asked for more time to file your federal tax return this year, the extra time is about to expire. If you haven’t yet filed, here are some things that you should know:
• Know the deadline. Oct. 15 is the last day to file for most people who requested an automatic six-month extension.
• Don’t overlook tax benefits. Make sure to check if you qualify for tax breaks that you might miss if you rush to file. This includes the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Savers Credit. The American Opportunity Tax Credit and other education tax benefits can help you pay for college.
• Use IRS Free File. Many people do not know that they can still e-file their tax return for free through IRS Free File. The program is only available on IRS.gov through Oct. 15. IRS e-file is easy, safe and the most accurate way to file your taxes. E-file also helps you get all the tax benefits that you’re entitled to claim.
• Use IRS Direct Pay. If you owe taxes the best way to pay them is with IRS Direct Pay. It’s the simple, quick and free way to pay from your checking or savings account. Just click on the ‘Pay Your Tax Bill’ icon on the IRS home page.
• File on time. If you owe taxes, file on time to avoid a late filing penalty. If you owe and can’t pay all of your taxes, pay as much as you can to reduce interest and penalties for late payment. Use the Online Payment Agreement tool to ask for more time to pay. You can also file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your tax return.
• More time for the military. Some people have more time to file. 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.
• New filing status rules may apply. New rules apply to you if you were legally married in a state or foreign country that recognizes same-sex marriage. You and your spouse generally must use a married filing status on your 2013 federal tax return. This is true even if you and your spouse now live in a place that does not recognize same-sex marriage. See IRS.gov for more information.
• Try easy-to-use tools on IRS.gov. Use the EITC Assistant to see if you’re eligible for the credit. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to get answers to common tax questions. The IRS Tax Map gives you a single point to get tax law information by subject. It integrates your topic with related tax forms, instructions and publications into one research tool.