Officials urge caution before filing taxes

Columbia, S.C. (WACH) - Business is starting to pick up at the H & R Block office on Garnerâ??s Ferry Road in Columbia as the April 17th deadline looms.

Tax preparer Montgomery Owens expects filers to take advantage of several exemptions this year including a deduction for first time homeowners.

"If you have a vehicle, personal property taxes may come into play, or if you're making charitable donations to a non-profit organization,â?? said Owens

If you use a tax service this year, officials urge you to make sure the preparer is reputable.

â??You want to look out for their fees, be wary of any tax preparer who guarantees a larger tax return than the competition,â?? said Department of Revenue Spokeswoman Samantha Cheek.

IRS forms are federal documents and you could be committing perjury if you sign a tax document with inaccurate information.

"1 out of every 90 returns got audited last year,â?? adds Owens. "It's not discriminatory; it's up and down the ladder whether you made 10 million or 10 dollars."

Cheek says you have until May 1st to file state taxes if you use E-file.

If you can't make next week's federal deadline you can file for a four month extension. If you know that you will owe taxes this year, you will have start making payments on the balance April 17th while the extension is worked out.