Last Minute Tax To-Do List

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The tax deadline is just days away — Tuesday, April 17, to be exact. Thomas E. Crowley, vice president and senior wealth planner for PNC Wealth Management in Pittsburgh, has some suggestions for last-minute filers:

Be sure to postmark your return by midnight on April 17. Some post offices are open until midnight, but check in advance so you're not frantic at the last minute. If you do wait until then to send your return, choose certified mail so you can prove that you actually sent it on the 17th.

Make sure the return you file is complete and accurate. If you feel you can't accomplish that by the deadline, then file for an extension instead of sending in an incomplete return. "You trigger more red flags and may have even more work to do than if you would have simply filed an extension and a complete return at a later date," says Crowley. You can request an extension online at, and you don't need a qualifying reason for the initial extension. Don't forget to get an extension for your state return as well.

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Pay up. If you do get an extension just remember that it doesn't mean you also have an extension of time to pay the tax you owe. So determine your tax liability and make a payment, even if you're filing for an extension. "I would advise rounding up a bit," says Crowley. "It's better to pay too much and have it applied to your tax liability for 2007 than to pay too little and have to pay interest and penalties." Get your income right. If you're filing in a rush, double-check that you have reported all wage income and that you have accounted for all 1099s. "This is the first 'match' that the IRS looks for in the audit process, so don't trigger this red flag."

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