Procrastinating your taxes? You risk identity theft

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The deadline to file your taxes is coming up in a few weeks, and there are consequences if you wait too long. Tax procrastinators, you have 3 weeks to file your taxes, and avoid any late filing penalties. Waiting any longer puts you at risk in more ways than one.

Ray Maargero of Liberty Tax in West Springfield says, "The later you file, frankly, the more opportunity is there that there may be some identity theft issues, so you want to get your return filed as soon as you can."

The penalties for filing late are significant. If you owe money, you could pay up to 5 percent penalty, each month if you don't file on time. And there's interest on top of that. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $135.

Remember, the deadline is different this year. The filing date deadline this year in Massachusetts is April 19th. Washington DC observes emancipation day on April 15th, pushing the deadline back.

Experts urge you to go through your records now to see what deductions you qualify for. When we rush, we often make mistakes.

"You know, you get yourself in trouble because, at the end of the day, you wait until the last minute and then you're paying penalties," says Idalis Delestre of West Springfield.

Tariq Rahmat of West Springfield says, "I don't understand why people wait. You have to do it, and you have to do it early, so then everybody's happy about that."

If you're still not ready by the 19th, you can file for an extension to avoid the non-filing penalty.It's a 4868 form, and it needs to be filed by April 18th. The extension is only for the paperwork involved – you still have to send what you owe.