Last-minute mistakes on tax return could cost you money

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Whether you haven't finished or even started, there's no time for excuses.

If you come in this time of year and you end up owing money, Uncle Sam expects you to send him a check, says Montgomery Owens, a senior tax advisor at H&R Block.

Taxpayers have until April 18 to submit returns, and until then Owens will be working around the clock.

According to the IRS, more than a quarter of Americans wait until the last two weeks of the filing season to do their taxes.

Owens estimates by April 18, more than 200 people will have come in and out of H&R Block on Garners Ferry Road since the start of the month.

What makes people wait till the last minute? Owens blames procrastination, not having all the needed documentation and like him, Owens believes some taxpayers may get caught up in the excitement of the season.

If you can't make this year's deadline, you can file for an extension until October 17, but it most be postmarked by this Monday.

You actually need to do an estimated return and if there are any taxes due at that time, you need to send a check along with that extension, Owens adds.

Using tax software is helpful for crunching the numbers, but it TMs important to acknowledge its limits. Owens reminds anyone filling out their taxes at home that honesty is the best policy.

It's very important to keep documentation because if the IRS calls you in for an audit, they want to see the documents that supported the expenses you claimed on your return, Owens says.

Late filing or not filing is another costly problem for taxpayers. Owens recommends paying what you can now and working out a plan with the government for the remaining balance.

If you're not electronically filing your tax returns, keep in mind that postage rates increase on April 17. The rate for a first-class stamp will remain at 44 cents; however, the cost of each additional ounce will go up 17 to 20 cents.