If you are a procrastinator now is the time to get your taxes done.

For those who haven’t filed their taxes yet, there are costly mistakes to be aware of. Local financial professional Wally Darling from Alpha 1 Tax & Wealth shares three tips to avoid penalties and save money as a last-minute filer. 

Anyone who received the child tax credit payments in 2021 can not claim the child credit on your 2021 taxes because you’ve already received the money. If you made more money in 2021 and no longer qualify for the credit, you may have to pay back some of the money you’ve already received.

Pay attention to the standard deduction for 2021 tax returns. For married couples filing jointly, the standard deduction has increased to $25,100, while the deduction for single taxpayers and couples filing separately increased to $12,550.

Make sure to check which tax bracket you fall into this tax season because the IRS adjusts the tax brackets each year to account for inflation. 

Finally, if you’re charitably minded, the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act allows for a charitable contribution deduction up to $300 or $600 for married individuals filing jointly.

You can still file after the deadline, as long as you have a file extension. Unlike the previous two years, the tax deadline was not extended due to the pandemic, but some still may need extra time to prepare their taxes. An extension will give you until October 17th to file. I have a link to the extension form on my website, alpha1wealth.com.

The IRS charges penalty fees for filing late or submitting a payment late. If you can’t get all of your paperwork together by the deadline, an extension will give you an extra six months to file. Even if you file for an extension, you can still get hit with a late payment fee if you owe money on your taxes. 

Make your best estimate because you still need to pay by April 18th. Then, make sure you get your return filed by October 15th.

Last-minute filers should avoid paper filing. Many of the centers that process paper claims have closed due to the pandemic, which will make your return process even slower.

Paper filing leaves more room for human error, as well. Double and triple-check your return if you paper file because any mistake can trigger a manual review, which will slow things down even more.

Filing electronically, and choosing direct deposit, for your return is the best way to avoid unnecessary mistakes and further refund delays.  And if your 2021 income was under $73,000, you can file your return online for free using the IRS Free File program.