Tips as tax filing deadline draws closer

By Kelly McCarthy

April 9, 2013 Updated Apr 9, 2013 at 6:23 PM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The New York state tax return deadline is less than a week away. Time is running out for those who have yet to file with the Internal Revenue Service.

The countdown continues toward the April 15 tax filing deadline for taxpayers and tax services. Filing delays and credit delays are causing a more stressful tax season than usual.

"This has been a very strange year of delays and postponements and things," said Margaret Duffy, tax preparer for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Endicott. "It's been very, very different."

One piece of advice for those who have yet to file has not changed: Jackson Hewitt employees say file on time.

"Even if you owe money," Duffy said, "It's better to file a return and not send in a payment right now if you can't afford it. Because there are penalties for failure to file."

Penalties are much higher for those who file late compared to those who pay late. For filing late, it's an extra 5 percent of the income tax due per month of a late return. For those paying late, they'll see an added 0.5 percent charge of the unpaid amount per month.

Another reason to file tax returns on time this year: Returns could affect healthcare coverage in the future.

"Whether you're eligible for a tax credit or whether you're eligible for health insurance through medicaid," said Gary Diehl, of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, "That's going to be based on your income from this year."

The Affordable Care Act requires individual health insurance by 2014. Low-Income residents could be eligible for tax credits or subsidies for health care.

"When people enroll for one of the new health plans next year," Deihl said, "Their eligibility for their tax credits will be determined by their income this year."

Extensions provide filers an extra six months, meaning the due date is Oct. 15. Extensions can be filed online through the IRS's website. Tax payments for 2012 are still due by April 15.