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In 1997 I filed a 1040 EZ and am not ready to file 1998 yet (for a host of reasons, one of which is simply a quaking in my boots kind of fear). If I run through a 1040EZ for 1998 and it shows that the Feds are going to owe me money, can I just file an extension and then file in June (when my friend the Tax Accountant will have the time to help me) and not come out of it losing money? I figure if they owe me money based on the 1040 EZ, it isn't like I could end up paying MORE in taxes than that, right?

To put your mind at ease, do a regular 1040 so you can include any stock sales you had. Put in all your income and leave out the deductions and tax credits (deductions are what take the most time).

If you've kept all those letters marked "Tax Documents Enclosed" it shouldn't take but an hour or two to rough it out. Then you can be sure you've paid enough in to cover the taxes.

The previous post was a very good idea. Lay out $10 and get some good tax software. After trying mine out last year, my friends and family now are all doing their own taxes.

The software asks you questions just like your friend would, it offers explainations and (best of all) will prompt you to find the papers you need.

Best of all, the computer isn't inconvenienced if you need to search the house for a missing W4 or something. The computer doesn't mind if you quit after an hour to watch ER and forget to come back for a couple days.

Best of all, when your friend comes over you'll have all the papers he'll need ready and waiting. It's worth ten bucks to make your friend's job easier.

With the new tax software, filing out the forms is very easy. You just have to relax and take your time.

So file an extension so you're not pressed for time -- then hurry up and finish your forms so you can get that fat juicy refund check. :)

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