With the deadline to file taxes fast approaching — it’s Monday in most states — many people throughout the country are experiencing a wave of panic. Winter has come and gone and all of a sudden it’s tax season. There’s no need to fear, however, as there are a couple of easy ways to file taxes at the last minute.
Last-minute tax-filers are not alone. Twenty to 33 percent of all U.S. taxpayers file their taxes in the two weeks leading up to the deadline, according to information from the IRS. Tax season can be a notoriously frustrating time, and as former President Lyndon B. Johnson once quipped, “In 1790, the nation which had fought a revolution against taxation without representation discovered that some of its citizens weren’t much happier about taxation with representation.”
Most employers are required to issue W-2 forms to employees to document earnings and withholdings. A taxpayer’s W-2s and Social Security number are necessary to start filing, unless filing jointly with a spouse, in which case one will need the husband’s or wife’s Social Security number as well.
Post offices throughout the country often remain open later on tax day to accommodate procrastinators, but arguably the fastest and easiest way to file is through a free IRS service online. The e-form is available through the IRS website here, and the software is designed to detect mistakes and warn the taxpayer.
If the thought of filing taxes on your own still gives you cold sweats, professional accountants, tax services like H&R Block and software programs like Turbo Tax are available to help for a fee. This is often a good option for freelancers, the self-employed or people who have multiple jobs and may have several W-2s and 1099s.