Tax day is upon us. For those who haven’t filed yet, take a breath and get to work.
Taxpayer options include: filing electronically, bringing forms to a mail center that will stay open late or asking the IRS for a filing extension.
And while time is almost up — tax forms must be electronically filed or postmarked by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday — procrastinators can still get some help.
Taxpayers can go to dozens of locations for assistance with forms through the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less.
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The city of Miami, working with the program, has 20 locations open to assist last-minute filers.
“All they have to do is bring all the paperwork and documents they need, and we can help them file,” said Miami Special Projects manager William Porro.
For those people in South Florida who are planning on bringing their forms to the post office, one center is staying open late. Taxpayers have until 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to drop their forms at the Miami General Mail Facility, 2200 NW 72nd Ave.
Spokeswoman Mirtha Uriarte said it’s not uncommon for people to show up at 11:25 p.m. to drop off their returns. But Uriarte said customers need to watch the clock.
“Try to get to the post office as early as possible on tax day because it does get very busy in the evening,” she warned.
The IRS also offered some last-minute tips:
▪ Filing electronically helps avoid basic errors.
▪ Avoid a late-filing penalty by requesting a tax-filing extension. An extension, however, does not mean you don’t have to pay by April 15.
▪ If you’re due a refund, once you file the simple form for an extension, the pressure is actually off. You have six more months to file your return.
▪ If you are filing paper forms, make sure everything is filled out clearly and correctly. Also check with your local post office to make sure you drop it off in time.
When filing, the Department of Justice is asking taxpayers to be vigilant and not fall prey to various scams. The IRS does not send unsolicited email, text messages or use social media to discuss personal tax issues.
The Department of Justice also warns that skipping out on taxes is not a good idea.
“As U.S. taxpayers, we enjoy many benefits, including the security provided by our U.S. military, the ability to travel on public roads and highways, and the beauty and enjoyment of national parks and monuments,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division in a news release. “Those individuals who choose to accept these benefits and yet turn a blind eye to their federal tax obligations by failing to file required returns, filing false and fraudulent returns, and evading the assessment and payment of tax due will be pursued for their criminal conduct. No one is above the law or below the radar.”
Tips for filing last minute:
▪ Post offices will be open regular business hours (many regularly are open later than 5 p.m. Post office hours, collection box locations and pickup times, and self-service ship and mail center locations are posted at usps.com. You also may call 800-ASK-USPS for locations. For late drop-off, postal employees will be stationed in the parking lot of the Miami General Mail Facility, 2200 NW 72nd Ave. from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tax forms must be properly addressed, in envelopes with correct postage.
▪ To file electronically or for other information, visit www.irs.gov.