IRS Awards Tax Filing Extension for Santa Barbara County

You may be able to get your tax return done for free. Check it out

If you're like roughly three-quarters of USA tax filers, you'll get a refund when you file your 2017 federal income tax return this year.

If you are unsure how much you owe in taxes, here's some math to figure out what to pay now.

Filing a tax extension is free.

And this is where it starts to get complicated. "This penalty is larger than for not paying any balance due", advised Gil Charney, director at The Tax Institute at H&R Block. While 36% of respondents overall selected this answer, more women planned to pay off debt (40%) than men (33%). As of April 6, just more than 103 million had been filed. Use your return from a year ago as a cheat sheet. Even if a consumer's debt payments remain the same after paying extra toward their debt, as they likely would with a traditional vehicle loan or a fixed-rate mortgage, the move will at least put the person closer to their debt payoff goals.

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Then when the government spots the fraud, the consumer is then on the hook for the money. Current credit card interest rates averaged 16.41% in March, but consumers with excellent credit could expect to secure a personal loan with an interest rate in the 10% to 12% range. Go back and look at what you paid in taxes a year ago, including both withholdings and any payments you made (including estimated quarterly payments as well as payments you made last April). And if they are planning on using the U.S. Postal Service to send those returns, the day may end earlier than they think.

One thing you should always do not forget to avoid being scammed during tax season, is that the IRS does not call and demand your personal information.

"You still need to get an extension because if you don't and don't pay, the penalty is around 5 percent a month versus if you file the extension and pay later it is a half percent per month so that is a big difference", said Smith.

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