You have exactly seven days to get your taxes completed and filed — and that's counting weekends.
If you haven't broken out in a cold sweat, you're probably one of those super-efficient, mildly annoying people that's already completed their taxes. But if you're one of the millions that hasn't, there's still time.
Your first step should be making sure you're claiming every deduction to which you're entitled. Several articles point out the most commonly overlooked deductions. Go to www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/the-mostoverlooked-tax-deductions.html and www.articlesnatch.com/Article/2009-Most-Overlooked-Tax-Deductions-That-Will-Save-You-Money/476435.
Newsweek, at http://www.newsweek.com/id/192900, lists six of the weirder — but entirely legal — deductions. Did you know you can write off your kid's clarinet lessons provided you can get a doctor's note stating the lessons are helping your child's orthodontia? Seriously.
If you need a laugh, check out http://www.fastupfront.com/blog/business/strange-but-true-small-business-tax-deductions/ for a list of the oddball — and often bogus — deductions that people have tried to take. If nothing else, it will give you a nice break from preparing your own return.
If your adjusted gross income is less than $57,000, you can file your federal taxes for free using one of the many third-party services listed on www.irs.gov. If your AGI is higher than this limit, you can still e-file, but you'll pay a small fee, around $10.
The IRS web site (www.irs.gov) also has a full host of online resources to help you prepare your return as well as tools to help you determine how much you should be withholding from each paycheck.
And, after you've filed, you can track the status of your refund. Go to https://sa1.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp for Fed, and, https://www.aztaxes.gov/default.aspx?target=CheckRefund for Arizona.