If you are one of the millions of Americans who owe Uncle Sam income tax, help is available from Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Montana.
"Our credit counselors would be happy to analyze your finances and make recommendations," said Dottie Graham of CCCS of MT. "We can help you develop an emergency budget and go over your credit options."
CCCS of MT offers these money management tips for consumers who may owe taxes:
Set aside time to figure out your taxes now. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to set up a repayment plan.
Set weekly savings targets. Find extra money to pay your tax bill by cutting back on non-necessity items like eating out. Can you work overtime, take a temporary second job, hold a garage sale?
Research your credit options. A bank loan, an IRS installment plan, or an IRS approved credit card may all help spread out your tax payments. These plans will cost more due to interest, and possibly additional fees, so research and choose the best option for your situation. Review your budget and determine how you will pay off the loan before signing any agreement. Late or missed tax loan payments can add penalties and late fees to your balance, making a bad situation worse.
Always file. You may be subject to a "failure to file" penalty and a "failure to pay" penalty if you miss the April 15 tax filing deadline.
Change federal withholding. To avoid a similar situation next year, withhold more from your paychecks during the year and budget for any capital gains taxes.
Finally, if you're having trouble getting your finances in order, seek help from a professional credit counselor. Treat your tax shortfall as a wake-up call and get your finances back on track.
CCCS is a nonprofit, community service organization.