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TheStreet Open House

Are You a Tax Procrastinator?

Ross Kenneth Urken

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) --I have been meaning to write this article for a while now, but just like your approach to your taxes, procrastination became my modus operandi. Tomorrow--whether intoned with the hope of Orphan Annie or the despair of Macbeth--always seemed more convenient. There are, of course, huge financial consequences to a dilatory tax return filing, and still loads of us persist in this behavior.

Even with the tax deadline looming, year after year, thousands of people wait to file. In fact, 28% of Americans wait until the last few weeks, according to the IRS.

Also see: Your State Tax Extension Rules, From Hawaii Through Maryland

Psychologists believe that some taxpayers procrastinate for the thrill of filing late. As PsychologyToday.com explains: "Some procrastinators enjoy the adrenaline 'rush.' These people find perverse satisfaction when they finish their taxes minutes before midnight on April 15 and dash to the post office just before it closes."

Of course, the tech-savvy procrastinator can file from his phone with apps programs like Snaptax.

Not only does procrastination cause unnecessary stress, but taxpayers also risk making mistakes and increase their chances of missing the deadline altogether. And late filings come with penalties and interest charges.

Still people love to butt up against the deadline, even though 75% of tax payers get money back with an average tax refund of $3,000. Postponing that extra cash can mean a delay (read: further procrastination) on payments for bills, rent, utilities and debt for which 40% of taxpayers plan to use their refunds, according to TurboTax.

Also see: Your Phone's So Smart, It Can Even File Your Taxes

We got these last-minute tax tips from, Lisa Greene-Lewis, Lead CPA, American Tax & Financial Center at TurboTax to help you through the final push.

  • Go online: Taxpayers can avoid long lines and the hassle of making an appointment by going online to prepare their tax return. TurboTax lets taxpayers ask tax questions exclusively to CPAs, EAs and tax attorneys, while they file their taxes, free. With TurboTax, taxpayers can file up until the eleventh hour on April 15 and get IRS confirmation that their return has been accepted.
  • Don't leave money on the table: In the rush to file, taxpayers shouldn't miss out on opportunities to reduce their tax bill. Taxpayers have until April 15 to contribute to an IRA and get a deduction on their 2012 tax return. And don't overlook charitable contributions made throughout the year on itemized returns. Donated clothing, household goods, and even miles driven for charity can add up to tax savings.
  • E-file with direct deposit: E-filing with direct deposit is easy, secure and the fastest way to get a refund. The IRS expects to issue nine out of ten refunds in under than 21 days.
  • Need more time? Don't panic. Taxpayers can get an extra six months to file a tax extension, until Oct. 15, 2013. However, a tax extension is not an extension to pay. Taxpayers still need to send the IRS a payment for taxes owed, within 90 percent accuracy, to avoid late penalties.

Also see: Tax Tip: Document Your Special Tax Situations

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