Last-Minute Tax Tips For 2013

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The clock is ticking for millions of U.S. taxpayers working toward the IRS deadline for filing their taxes, April 15.

Why not take that time to flesh out your tax returns with some last-minute tips from some of the savviest tax specialists in the U.S.?

For example, you can have your tax refund popped directly onto a prepaid debit card. H&R Block offers that service (for a small fee) using MasterCard’s Emerald Card.

Here are some other last-minute tips from our experts:

Use a debit card to pay your taxes. MasterCard says that paying with a debit card offers convenience and security with some of the lowest flat fees ever offered by payment processors. For example, this year, PayUSAtax.com is charging a flat fee of $3.49, while Pay1040.com is charging only $2.99. The money savings are clear, since the costs associated with mailing checks (certified mail fee, cashier bank check fee, etc.) add up quickly.

Use your tablet computer. When it comes to doing your taxes, it’s always “safety first.” The security experts at F-Secure, a San Jose, Calif., software security firm, notes that 87% of Americans will file their taxes electronically. That means about 75 million people are vulnerable to online identity theft.

That’s why F-Secure advises doing your taxes using a tablet-specific software program (Turbo Tax and H&R Block are among those offering them.) The firm says that I.D. hackers view tablet computers as a challenge relative to mobile phones and laptop computers. They’re easier to handle, allow for more room for working with receipts and generally are more reliable (especially compared with smartphones, the firm said).

Leverage your IRA. Riverwoods, Ill., accounting firm CCH Group says you can “beat the clock” by taking advantage of last-minute tax savings. Taxpayers can reduce their taxable income by as much as $5,000 or $6,000 if a taxpayer is 50 or older and meets income requirements, the firm says. Taxpayers have until April 15 to contribute to their 2012 IRA.

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