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Last minute tax tips

Consumers have just a week left to file their taxes. A third of tax returns come in at the last minute. If you're among those procrastinators, Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com tells what you need to know.


Check and see if you can file for free. The IRS' Free File program offers free e-filing to people who have an adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less. By their estimates, 70% of taxpayers could be eligible. IRS.gov has all the details.

Look for discounts. Prices for online prep rise as the deadline approaches, but credit card issuers and banks are offering discounts toward online tax preparation. Some banks are putting links in your online statements, others may have sent an email. And of course, there are coupon codes. Discounts are up to 50%.

If you're expecting a refund and have a smartphone, there's now a tax refund app that tells you the status of your return. By the time you set it up, it's only a step or two short of actually checking your email and bank account, but it's a nice perk for people waiting on a tantalizingly big return.

Resist the urge to pay via credit card. Rates have gone up substantially in the past year, thanks to the new credit card legislation. Coupled with the 2% to 3% transaction fee you'll pay for using plastic, that makes a tax bill much scarier.

If you're truly overwhelmed, make sure to file for an automatic six-month extension. But keep in mind it's really just a reprieve from the paperwork, not the bill. You'll still have to send in payment for what you estimate you owe by April 18.

For more information on filing your income taxes and other consumer tips click here.

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