Avoiding Last Minute Costly Income Tax Filing Mistakes
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Joe Smith of Madison, is retired and often waits until the last minute to file his taxes. He's never been audited, but Smith says there's a little apprehension mixed in with his procrastination.

"My biggest fear is having to payback to the IRS, if there's a possibility that I have to payback." said Smith.

Smith is meeting with G.A. Woodard, a tax preparer in Jackson, who has educated him about keeping the proper records. It's a lesson Woodard learned by enduring nine audits in a row some 45 years ago.

"When it leads to an audit normally it's painstaking because they throw everything at you." said Woodard.

The 71-year old says he was determined to learn how to prepare his taxes, took a course and established his own business. On his desk sits a stack of files from people whose tax returns have been flagged by the IRS, and have to be resubmitted. Woodard says common mistakes are often the problem.

"They file their own taxes, but they made errors in the addition. The other one is not having accurate information on the tax return, social security numbers, addresses or contributions." said Woodard.

Woodard makes sure his clients use the earned income tax credit, for low to moderate income families. Those with no children can receive a $503 dollar credit. Those with three or more children may qualify for a $3359 credit.

"It's a gift that the federal government gives you, and as a result you need to take advantage of it." said Woodard.

Woodard urges people to file on time, even if they owe the IRS, to prevent additional penalties and fees. Filing an extension is always an option. It gives people until October 15, to file their return. But any money owed to the IRS is still due April 15.