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It's almost Tax Day- what to do if you haven't filed yet

(WIVB) - The April 15 deadline for filing taxes is coming up quickly. 

If you haven't filed yet, you're not alone- it's estimated that one in three taxpayers waits until April to file their return. 

Taxpayers should get their taxes filed before the deadline, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, Jr. said. 

"Whether you can pay or not if you owe, we recommend that you file your taxes before April 15," Mychajliw said. 

If you can't afford to pay, the IRS offers an Installment Payment Agreement, or IPA. 

"It's so incredibly important to file your taxes," Mychajliw said. "The IRS will be flexible even when it comes to paying them late, and that will minimize the amount of interest you pay." 

When it comes to tax preparation, there are plenty of resources available in the county to help you to file for free. 

AARP has 14 sites across the county to help seniors file their taxes for free. 

Free tax preparation is also available 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays at Northwest Buffalo Community Center,  155 Lawn Ave in Buffalo. 

For a full list of locations and information, click here. 

Taxpayers should be cautious during tax season to avoid scams, including scammers posing as IRS employees,  Mychajliw said. 

"The IRS will never contact you on the phone or via email," he said. "Please do your homework before you hand any personal information over."

It's also important to have a reputable tax preparer do your taxes if you're not doing them yourself. 

"Make sure they have a reputation of doing taxes for many years," Mychajliw said. "They even have a Tax Preparer Identification Number- make sure that the individual signs your tax return." 

 

If your income is $60,000 or less, you can file for free through the federal government electronically. 

"You're 20 times less likely to make an error in your tax prep if you file online," Mychajliw said. 

With recent changes to the federal tax law, taxes may be slightly different this year. 

"A lot of individuals I think have the false assumption that 'because of the changes in the tax laws, I'm going to be getting less in my return'," Mychajliw said. "But that's not necessarily the case- you may be getting more in your weekly paycheck because of the federal tax cut, which means you'll get a lower tax return." 

Mychajliw recommends reaching out to a tax professional to help. 

"I think there's a misunderstanding that your tax return is a bonus, but it's your money that you're technically overpaying the government." 

 


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