(WXYZ) — Friday is April 15, normally known as Tax Day, but the deadline to file your income tax returns this year is actually Monday because IRS offices are closed in observance of Emancipation Day.
If you haven't filed your taxes yet, you have just a few days left, and we have five reminders from an expert so you don't waste your money.
“If you can file everything electronically, it's the best way to go," Jeffrey McMichael, the senior tax manager at Cohen and Company in Detroit, said.
1. – File online ASAP
There are four options for individual taxpayers when it comes to electronic filing.
And it's recommended you don't wait until Monday to start the process.
"The biggest thing is you want to try to avoid any, you know, technical glitches or any errors," McMichael said.
Plus, mailing in documents to the Internal Revenue Service is not recommended since the IRS is still dealing with a significant backlog due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. – Watch out for scams
"What's the most common tax-related scam out there right now?" I asked.
“We still see a lot of people getting emails or phone calls," McMichael said.
McMichael explained that you should be wary of unsolicited people emailing you or calling you offering to do your taxes for you.
Also, don't provide personal information to anyone you don't know.
3. – File for an extension, if needed
The extension of time to file your income tax return is just to provide all of the documentation to the IRS or the State of Michigan. It does not give you an extension of time to paying taxes you might owe.
You still have to pay an estimate of what you owe by Monday, April 18.
If you can't afford to pay, you can always apply for a payment plan.
“You're still charged interest when you go into a payment plan. That still occurs, but then the penalties are less," McMichael said.
4. – Take action to avoid penalties
Penalities will apply if you underpay your estimated taxes or if you pay late.
McMichael said the interest and underpayment penalty amounts are subject to special rules and circumstances.
Basically, it's better to pay something rather than nothing if you owe income taxes.
5. – Accurately report COVID-19 relief tax breaks
"There was an amount in bold that said this is how much we have shown we paid you in 2021," McMichael said.