April 18, the deadline to file your income taxes, is about a week away. You can use the Internal Revenue Service's Free File software to do your taxes or file an extension.
IRS Free File is available free to the 70 percent of taxpayers who earn $58,000 or less. There also are free online forms.
The software and forms are at irs.gov/freefile.
As the final countdown begins, here are some tips from the IRS:
-- Many tax credits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are available. There's an expanded credit of up to $2,500 for tuition, books and fees; an energy credit of up to $1,500 and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for larger families of up to $5,666.
The $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit still is available for people who entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, and went to settlement by Sept. 30, 2010.
-- File electronically to get a faster refund, have secure encrypted transmission and a more accurate tax return. You can e-file through a tax preparer, commercial software or through IRS Free File.
-- If you can't meet the April 18 deadline, file for an extension with Form 4868. Taxpayers can use Free File to submit a Form 4868 for an automatic six-month extension.
-- The six-month extension is to file a return only. It is not an extension to pay taxes due. If you are unable to pay your taxes, file a tax return anyway to reduce the penalties and pay what you can.
-- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites serve taxpayers whose 2010 incomes were $49,000 or less. Find the closest VITA site location by calling 800-906-9887.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites serve taxpayers 60 and older. To find a location, call 888-227-7669.