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Dreading, delaying tax filing

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Posted: 10 am ET

Haven't done your taxes yet? Maybe it's because you've been working on your hairdo.

OfficeMax's 2011 Tax it to Me survey found that around 40 percent of respondents said they'd feel more confident taking a pair of scissors to their own locks than filling out their tax returns on their own.

Before you go gender stereotyping, that percentage is about the same for men and women, with men just slightly less sure about their ability to give themselves a good haircut versus filling out 1040s.

While the survey choice is amusing, it underscores the degree of tax trepidation that people feel as they face the annual filing task.

And that's probably why, even if we're getting a refund (which most people do), so many of us put off filing until the last possible minute.

The Internal Revenue Service says that around 20 percent to 25 percent of all taxpayers file in the final two weeks of the tax season.

About 7 percent of taxpayers seek a six-month extension to file. Based on the IRS's expected returns of 141 million, that means almost 10 million taxpayers will be doing their taxes after April 18.

While there's still time to complete your 2010 return, postponing filing is not necessarily a bad idea. If you're doing your taxes yourself, even using tax software, it's better to take your time and make sure you get the job done properly. The only thing worse than filing your taxes is having to answer IRS questions about a mistake on your tax return.

And if you wait until after the April filing crunch, you might even be able to find a tax professional who is willing to take on new clients.

Remember, though, that if you do file Form 4868 to get until Oct. 17 to file your 2010 taxes, if you owe any taxes, pay them when you file for your extension. If you don't, your eventual bill will only get larger, as the IRS adds a late-payment penalty and interest charges to the amount.

Whether you're working on your taxes now or planning to do so this summer, get all the latest tax news and tips this filing season by subscribing to Bankrate's free Daily Tax Tip newsletter.

You also can follow me on Twitter @taxtweet.

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