Last-minute tax advice

WASHINGTON — Don’t look now, but tax day is Tuesday. You’ve had your taxes done for months, right?

Yeah, right.

If you haven’t attacked the forms yet, Eva Rosenberg, of Taxmama.com, has some great-sounding advice — “Don’t do it at all.”

OK, there’s a catch: What she means is, file an extension. Don’t try to figure out all the percentages and deductions now.

“Last-minute stuff equals mistakes,” Rosenberg told WTOP’s Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard. “Just put it on extension, so that you are not rushing through and making mistakes.”

You should be able to file an extension online, or if you have a tax professional, he or she can handle it.

Speaking of which, some people do their own taxes, but others swear by their professionals. How do you know whether to hire someone to do your taxes?

Rosenberg says her site has a questionnaire about your finances. “When you have more than two questions you can’t answer yourself, you shouldn’t be doing it yourself.”

If you decide to hire a pro, Rosenberg says there are a few things to look for: “First of all, they don’t make you feel stupid. Second, they need to be an enrolled agent, CPA or an attorney.” They also have to have a professional tax ID number. “If they don’t have one of those, just run, because they’re not authorized to prepare tax returns.”

It also helps to hire someone who is a member of a professional tax society. Many states, including D.C., have no formal minimum requirements to certify someone as a tax preparer.

That’s all assuming you haven’t already done your taxes. But you have. Right?

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