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Survey: Late Tax Filers Pay More to Uncle Sam On the fun meter, having your taxes done ranks up there, with say, getting a root canal or cleaning your bathroom -- so it comes as little surprise that many people procrastinate about filing their returns.

But there's a price to pay for putting off your date with the IRS, according to a new tax preparation survey by TechBargains.com: Procrastinators, defined as taxpayers who file in April as well as those who apply for extensions and file even later, tend to pay an average of $163 to get the job done, while early birds who file in January and February pay about $87.

Disorganized late filers often end up paying more to their tax preparers because of the extra time it takes.

"It may take us more time to prepare the extended return -- it could be more complicated or the records could be in bad shape," Mary Kay A. Foss, a C.P.A in Danville, Calif., tells DailyFinance. "Since our bills are related to the amount of time we must spend, the bills are often higher than the ones filed earlier in the tax season. So not only are they unhappy because they may have missed a deduction, they think that they're paying more for the return as well."

What's more, late filers are often disorganized -- which can lead to missed deductions, Foss says. "Paying taxes can be very stressful -- especially if [taxpayers] haven't prepaid enough tax or if your records are in disarray. I find that people who wait until the last minute always feel that there are other deductions that they may have missed because they didn't have enough time to do the best job in gathering information."
Now, while Foss notes that later filers also end up paying more in taxes, it's not so much that filing late causes taxpayers to pay more -- it's that late filers are generally the ones who owe more to Uncle Sam in the first place.

"I wouldn't say that filing late causes you to lose money," Foss says. "The early filers are those expecting refunds or needing the return to apply for financial aid for a college-age child. Those that file in April may have determined earlier that they owe a lot of money and don't want to part with it until the last minute."

The survey also found that 89% of early filers feel positive about their tax preparation method, whereas 62% of procrastinators don't feel good about how they've filed their taxes.

"If you are getting a refund, owe very little tax or need the return early for the college forms, having everything done on time or early is a very good feeling," Foss says. "These people know they've accomplished an onerous task early enough that they can enjoy the springtime, spring break or the Final Four games. They're happy the returns are done and pay our bills quickly."

By contrast, "clients who file at the last minute often tell me, 'I'll be better next year, I'll be organized and we won't need an extension,'" Foss says. "It is rare that they change their behavior the next year."

2012 Tax Prep Infographic
[Via: TechBargains]

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Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

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Patrick Wharton

lol taxes are taxes no mattter if you are filed early or not it all about being ready for that tax season anyway better record will help and more relable infomation. Taxes are controled by a board of people in the area where they handout money. War time or not money feeds the evil that exist in the world less or more. President is a a figure head. Someone there to make all the people believe we have freedom to choose what we want. But in reality we dont have that freedom. Bashing the presidents as far when i was born is everyone down fall. This preisdent did this. This one did that boohoo it everyone fault not just a president. You elected him deal with it. Taxes has been a part of the culture since money was invented. The usa wants to waste it let em. What true power do we have to stop them honestly. Homeowners are taxed to death, some bussiness are driven out of bussiness becuase of high taxes. Be prepared to file the right and give yourself the right amount of time to file it right the first time. Cost less in the end. and who you will but remeber this. In this country as it stands, "Its survival of the fitest." Or in this case "MONEY". Money talks bs walks always til monitery gain and self righteousness is gone we will never change the taxes laws

April 05 2012 at 5:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hold Your Horses

Why run this story on April 5, when it's already too late for follow the advice. Wouldn't a Feb. 5 release have been a better idea?

April 05 2012 at 3:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The thing that isn't mentioned, when saying that those who pay a preparer pay more than using a website or tax prep software, is that many are not saving any money, and in fact losing a LOT of money. Over the past couple of years, I have gone back and amended those self-preparers, wven with a well-known tax software program, and gotten them back three times more than they had to pay me to amend their tax returns. That is in addition to what they were refunded in the first place.

April 05 2012 at 1:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

And look what they do w/ your tax $'s, war, giving money to countrys who would destroy ours, loans that are never paid back, cheating our own people w/ our monies. They are countless ways that our tax $'s are used that we would not condone but we are lied to @ every turn. Our gov't is ruthless & evil, they are no better than the Chinese, the Russians & others that our own gov't says are evil but they lie & deceive us constantly.

April 02 2012 at 3:17 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jim's comment

Jim. I totally agree with you. It's that both parties are hard core capitalists that causes us to get ripped-off. They feed the rich and starve the middle class. Even when exposed, they do nothing about it. Look at the tax tricks used by Mitt Romney. Do you think that anyone will ever correct those problems. No way. Their big donors don't want them to. And those millions of people who give small donations, exceeding the donations from the rich, fail to unite behind a common cause to fix the system. We're fragmented and confused and they love it that way.

April 04 2012 at 10:02 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Yo! If this advice is for 2011 tax filing, then you are also guility of procrastinating by telling me at the last minute not to procastinate . You should have passed on this advice since January. Duh!!! It's already April 2.

April 02 2012 at 3:15 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Unfortunately, taxes have gone up consistently in 30+ years while income has not.
Our Gov't has a "Revenue problem" that contributes to the Debt.
The "Warren Buffet" rule will ALWAYS be rejected by our Do-Nothing Congress because they're all Millionaires who don't want to Pay Higher Taxes, yet, they will never, ever suffer the burden of IRS tax audits because of their political connections.
BTW: Wish I had $25G to put towards next years' income taxes.... Oh, but I didn't have an income last year because my Job went OVERSEAS!!!
Outsourcing should be illegal...
When AMERICA starts bringing those JOBS BACK, maybe then, the DEFICIT will DROP because more "Employed" people will be working that can pay taxes and lower the Deficit... DUH!

April 02 2012 at 2:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I never charge more than I do early, it is a scam if you are charged more later

April 02 2012 at 1:33 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Feel "good" about their taxes?! Anyone who thinks they are getting their money's worth needs their head examined.

April 01 2012 at 11:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All the more reason why we need the FAIR tax - EVERYONE pays their taxes everytime they buy something, and since the rich tend to spend more, they end up paying more even though everyone pays at the same rate....and April 15th becomes just another day.

April 01 2012 at 11:32 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to chrisk529's comment


I hope Obama loses and we change the president

April 01 2012 at 11:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply