PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — April 18 – Tax Day 2022 – is just a few days away. A local tax preparer is sharing tips to avoid penalties as the filing due date approaches.

William Sharpe, president of Total Income Tax in Peoria, said most late-filers are those who money, rather than a refund.

“The big thing is when folks come into Tax Day and they owe a little bit of money, or a lot of money, their intuitive sense is to not file if they don’t have the money. Which in reality is the worst thing they could possibly do,” he said.

Sharpe said it’s better to file and not pay than not file at all.

“There’s a ‘failure to file’ penalty that is 10 times greater than ‘failure to pay’ penalty … In short, if you decide not to pay, it’s not nearly as severe as it is to not pay and not file,” he explained.

IRS Spokesperson Raphael Turino said the department has been very busy. Many tax returns are complicated by the Child Tax Credit advance and third stimulus payment.

“It’s been a bit of a challenge this year, consuming all the pandemic legislation we’ve had to administer in the last couple of years,” he said.

Sharpe said the Child Tax Credit advance has complicated some of his clients’ returns too.

“That’s been the most disruptive thing, from my perspective, because it was meant to help folks through the pandemic… but it came at the expense of their refund this year,” he said.

Turino said it is imperative to file electronically for timely processing. Also, make sure the return is error-free.

“Try not to file paper. If you can use e-file, choose direct deposit. Paper is our kryptonite,” he said. “Help us help you … by getting your correct return in the first time with all those numbers and letters that you may have got from the IRS. .. If it gets kicked out to error resolution, that might have to be done manually and that’ll slow things down.”

Filing an extension is also an option.

“If you haven’t filed yet, and you’re getting the last few days here, don’t file an inaccurate return out of haste. Double and triple check. If you need to take the extension, which gives you through October to file the return,” said Turino.