H-CENTRAL COAST

Apr 17, 2012 3:25 AM by Ariel Wesler

Last-Minute Tax Saving Tips

Today is the deadline to pay your taxes. It's normally April 15th, but that fell on a Sunday this year and yesterday was a federal holiday in Washington D.C.

According to Turbo Tax, about a third of Americans wait until the last two weeks to do their taxes.

Like a kid who's just finished his finals, Eric Wooten of Atascadero is done with his taxes. We caught him coming back from the post office.

"It's the greatest feeling. It's like I almost have tomorrow off it's so exciting," Wooten said.

It's also crunch time for tax professionals and accountants like Dan o'Hare. He's with the firm Glenn Burdette in San Luis Obispo.

"Someone will say I have this problem. I didn't get my tax return filed. Can you help me out at the last minute?"

At this point, he's mainly filing extensions for people and if you haven't touched your taxes, he advises you do the same.

"It's so late in the game, that you want to get everything right, so it's better to estimate what you owe and get that paid to the IRS and the Franchise Tax Board," he said.

But make no mistake, not all who wait have chosen to procrastinate. Some have more complicated forms to file.

"They're waiting for information from other sources that delay the process," O'Hare said.

An extension will push your filing deadline to October 15th, but you still have to pay now. O'Hare says the worst thing you can do is nothing.

"Even if you can't pay, get your tax returns filed because you can always work out a payment plan later with the IRS and the Franchise Tax Board," he said.

And just like the shoemaker's children, when it comes O'Hare's taxes.

"I just finished them [Monday]," he said.

No doubt money is also a motivator in choosing when to file.

"If I get as much back next year as I did this year, I will file early," Wooten said.

O'Hare says he noticed more people paying more money in taxes this year. He sees it as a sign the economy is improving because generally the more you make, the more taxes you pay.

He says some common errors are miswriting numbers, including your own social security number. He says rushing can also cause you to miss valuable deductions.

Here's a list of the cities with people who procrastinate the most when it comes to doing their taxes:

1) San Francisco
2) New York City
3) Washington D.C.
4) Los Angeles
5) Seattle

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