As of Friday, slightly more than 2 million Minnesotans had filed their taxes, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. But that still means almost 700,000 people will either scramble to file by the deadline at midnight on Tuesday or ask the federal government for an extension.
If you haven't filed by now, you probably won't be able to schedule time with an accountant so close to Tuesday night's deadline, said Scott Beers of Lottsa Tax and Accounting in Minneapolis.
The usual pressure faced by tax accountants around tax day was made worse this year when the state Legislature passed a bill containing some new tax cuts in March, and the state asked taxpayers to delay filing taxes until after April 3 so forms could be updated and tax preparers notified of the changes.
"All kinds of tax returns were ready to be done and then put on hold because we didn't know how the state's tax law changes would affect those tax returns," Beers said. "It cost us many, many, many hours."
For those still needing to file, the state of Minnesota offers assistance for people who are over 60, speak limited or no English, make under $52,000 a year or are disabled. The IRS also allows people who make less than $58,000 to file for free using online software.
If you're just not going to make the tax-filing deadline, Beers said taxpayers can ask for a 6-month extension by filing tax form 4868 with the IRS.
For those who already filed and found themselves owing money, Beers said the IRS is usually very willing to create a payment plan.
"It's a very fair and fairly straightforward and streamlined process to get a payment plan, and as long as the taxpayer goes forward with the plan, it should go on with a hitch," Beers said.
If your taxes look like a mess this year, Beers said it's never too early to schedule an appointment with an accountant to plan for next year.
"Let's create a system here for tracking your tax attributes, your money in, your money out, so it's not a mess when it comes to file," Beers said. "Prevention and preparation is really the key."
Taxpayers with more complex financial situations, like landlords or independent contractors, could benefit from the help of a tax accountant who knows the very complicated tax system.
"The biggest issue isn't what they do wrong, it's what they don't know to ask or question," Beers said. "That's really I think where a tax professional or tax adviser can give them the most value."
One of the most important things Beers said taxpayers should remember as tax day rolls around: "They shouldn't be doing their taxes on April 14 or 15."