Still haven't filed your tax returns? Americans have until midnight Tuesday to send them in, and even the worst of procrastinators still have time and opportunities to meet the deadline. Here are five ways to do it:
1) Did you make under $57,000? File electronically, with software assistance, free:
Electronically filing federal and state returns with tax software isn't just swift – it can be free for people whose adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less. Fifteen companies are offering their tax software for federal returns through the IRS’s website. Some other restrictions – such as age, state and military status – may apply, depending on the company. Some of these companies support free filing for state tax returns; some offer state service for a fee.
2) Made more than $57,000? File electronically for free, without software assistance:
If you made too much money to qualify for the software assistance, you still can file electronically for free. The IRS offers "Fillable Forms," which are an electronic version of the paper IRS forms. Anyone can file these electronically with no cost. The catch is that it's similar to filling out paper forms – you need to know what you're doing. No software assistance here.
3) Buy software to file electronically:
If you made too much for option No. 1 and you don't have the confidence for option No. 2, you can buy tax preparation software from a variety of companies at a store or online. File by midnight, and you're set.
4) Mail paper returns at post offices with late hours:
If you prefer the paper route, you might be able to find a post office that will be open later than usual. Check USPS.com for more information.
5) File for an extension:
If you can't get your all of your tax information together in time, file for an extension by midnight, either electronically or by mail. This will give you until October 15 to file a return.
Before you do file for an extension, know that you’re filing for an extension to file, not an extension to pay. On the extension form, you'll be asked to estimate your tax liability and pay that amount. HLN money expert Clark Howard has information on this and other tips – including that you should file if even you currently don’t have the money to pay – on HLNTV.com.