The deadline to file taxes is Monday, April 15. While most Americans have already filed - especially those getting a refund - the IRS says 20 to 25 percent of us are going to wait until the last two weeks.
Whether you haven't found the time, don't have the dough, or you're like me and just love deadlines, it's time to get started. Here's the steps to make it happen...
Step one: Get organized. Don't sit down until you have what you need: W-2s, 1099s, receipts - look at last year's return: make sure you have the backup to support the same stuff on this year's.
Step two: Decide who's doing it. Remember, if you made $51,000 or less last year, you qualify for free in-person preparation. If not, grab some software - the IRS Freefile website is a great place to find it cheap or free.
Step 3: Take a breath, folks. This is not a race: Rushing means making mistakes, or worse yet, leaving money on the table because you didn't pick up deductions you were entitled to. So take your time. You don't have to file by April 15. It's simple to get an extension.
Just file this form - 4868. If you owe, you'll have to pay. But this simple form will buy you 6 more months. If you need it, use it.
And whatever you file, do it electronically - it's fast, it's often free, and you'll get an electronic confirmation it's been received.
Bottom line? There's a reason we use the word "taxing" to describe stressful situations. But you don't have to stress out over your taxes. Take a few minutes and get them done. Or file an extension and procrastinate away. Either way I can help you. Just go to moneytalksnews.com and do a search for "Tax Hacks 2013."
For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.