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Beat the tax clock

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNN) -- There's only hours left to get in your taxes. But you can beat the clock.

E-filing is the quickest way to get your tax return to the IRS. And already over 71 million people have already e-filed according to the IRS. Not only is it faster, but it can catch your math errors too.

You don't necessarily have to go out and buy a software program. If you are comfortable filling out a 1040 by hand, the IRS has free software that lets you file a 1040 electronically. If you made less than $57,000 in 2009, you can use the IRS's Free File.

Here are some places to check out for last minute help.

The IRS has volunteer offices set up across the country to help folks who are having trouble filing their taxes. To find a VITA site -- that stands for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program -- call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

If you are older than 60, AARP offers a tax aide program where you can get one-on-one counseling, help over the telephone or assistance over the Internet with basic tax forms. You don't have to be a member or a retiree to get help. You don't have to be a member of AARP or even a retiree to come in and get help preparing your taxes. Go to AARP.org/taxaide.

If you think you're going to miss the tax deadline, it's time to file an extension.

You can do this for free at IRS.gov. Your taxes will not be due until October 15th.

Just because you file an extension, doesn't mean you can wait to pay. And if you can't pay because you've lost your job or you've endured some other hardship, call the IRS.

"A lot of people think of the IRS and get a little nervous about calling us," says IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman. "Our people are instructed that if there are struggling Americans out there, we need to work with them," he said. "We can work through issues with you. The important thing is not to disappear from the system."

Talkback: Are you expecting a tax refund? To top of page

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