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7 money-saving tips for last-minute tax filers

7 money-saving tips for last-minute tax filers
You need to focus on things that can lower your tax bill, make sure you don't miss deductions or credits that can reduce the amount you owe Uncle Sam.

Remember, the Internal Revenue Service is there to make sure you pay what you owe, they are not set up to make sure you get the maximum refund you deserve.

According to the IRS, about 20 percent of the people who qualify for the 'earned income tax credit,' don't claim it. And that credit can mean several thousand dollars for low- and moderate-income taxpayers.

Now chances are your deductions changed if you got married, divorced, had a baby, adopted a child or bought a home in 2012. You may also qualify for a new deduction or credit if you're caring for a dependent parent, you or your spouse started a business or you went back to school.

Some other commonly overlooked deductions for those who itemize: student loan interest paid, union dues, required work uniforms, fees for tax preparation and penalties for closing a certificate of deposit before maturity.

For those who were out of work in 2012: Unemployment benefits are fully taxable. If you itemize you can deduct many expenses related to your job search, such as printing resumes, hiring a job counselor or traveling for job interviews.

If you owe the IRS money, you can authorize an electronic debit from a checking or savings account. You can also pay with a debit or credit card, but there is a fee for doing that.

If you can't pay the full amount, file your return and contact the IRS to find about payment options, such as an installment agreement.

Remember, if you file an extension, that's just for the paperwork. You still must pay any tax owed by April 15th or you get into an interest and penalty situation.
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