Join our community of Solution Seekers!

Tax Season 101

8 Things You Should Know About Last-Minute Tax Filing

In a bind? These pointers could prevent you from filing your taxes late.

Calculator and 1040 tax formsArtifacts Images/Getty Images

Double Check Social Security Numbers
If you’re filing in a hurry, you’re more likely to make mistakes. Before you mail in your return, make sure that all of your personal information is correct. Incorrect info can be a red flag for auditors. If you have any dependents, putting down their social security numbers incorrectly can make you ineligible for certain tax credits.

Don’t Forget To Sign Your Return
An unsigned return is invalid, so make sure to sign yours if you’re filing on paper. If someone else prepared your return, then both you and the preparer should sign.

Plan Your (Post Office) Attack
If you’re submitting by mail, your taxes must be postmarked by April 18th. (It’s usually April 15th, but in 2011 the government pushed it back in order to recognize Emancipation Day.) Some post offices have late hours on tax day for just this reason—but not all do, so check with your local post office now so you’re prepared. Even so, lines will be very long at post offices with extended hours, so get your taxes out immediately rather than waiting until the last minute.

Go With Certified Mail
That way, you’ll have a record that your tax return was received. With certified mail, you’ll receive a receipt stamped with the date of mailing and a tracking number so you can verify online. If you really want to be sure, go with return receipt service, which will give you a copy of the signature of the person who received your package, viewable online or by mail.

You Can Submit via Messenger Services Like FedEx and UPS
If you decide to go with FedEx instead of a regular post office (maybe the lines are shorter), that’s okay. Although the IRS provides customers with a post office box address—and carriers like FedEx don’t deliver to P.O. boxes—just ask the person behind the counter. She should be able to provide you with an alternate address in your region.

Read More About:Money

Related Content

Handing over money

3 Ways to Protect Yourself When Loaning Money

Whether it’s for an overdue bill or to fund a new business, a relative will ask for financial help at some point. Follow these tips for a smoother lending process.

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments

Quick Tip

Illustration of suitcases

Packing for a family vacation? Travel versions of favorite games won’t crowd suitcases, and playing them will keep kids from begging to watch TV at night. Get more tips.