I somehow managed to complete my taxes and file them electronically despite having two toddlers crawling on my head the entire time, using me as a de facto jungle gym.
So, if I’m audited, I can always blame it on being a little distracted during the process. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Internal Revenue Service will gives out breaks on interest and penalties for toddler tax-time interference.
At any rate, if you haven’t filed, you’ve got about 48 hours to do so. If you’re planning to e-file, do it NOW. The longer you wait, the higher the chance the IRS’ servers are going to be tied up with the thousands of other last-minute filers.
Don’t forget that, for the first time, you can file your taxes for free on the IRS Web site at irs.gov. This service is available to everyone, regardless of income levels.
The IRS Web site can help you, too, if you need to file an extension, as can such major tax software packages as TurboTax. But don’t think that by filing an extension, you can delay paying what you owe. If you owe for 2008, you’re still expected to make an estimated payment.
If you’re scrambling around looking for additional deductions to take, there are several articles out there pointing out lesser known – and sometimes just plain weird – tax deductions available. Newsweek, at www.newsweek.com/id/192900, lists six of the weirder deductions.
Yes, it’s possible to write off your kid’s clarinet lessons provided you can get a doctor’s note stating the lessons are helping your child’s orthodontia.
The Consumerist at consumerist.com/5196958/3-last+minute-tax-tips also has helpful tips on deductions that can help you lower your tax bill.
So, after reading this column, you’ve got roughly 47 hours and 45 minutes to get your taxes done. So get busy!
Romi Carrell Wittman is a writer and the communication services director for Trico Electric Cooperative. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.