Tax day 2011: Last-minute tips to keep the Internal Revenue Service away

The Internal Revenue Service has taken on a gentler demeanor in recent years, but let's face it: The IRS still wants you to pay what you owe, and to pay it on time. This year, on time means April 18, due to a calendar quirk involving the District of Columbia's celebration of Emancipation Day. State deadlines may vary.

Here are nine tips that tax experts (and the friendly Internal Revenue Service itself) offer to help keep you from getting audited, owing a penalty, paying more than you really owe, or having to file an amended return because of a mistake:

1. Don't forget something basic

Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor/File
An H&R Block office in Boston.

H&R Block, a provider of tax services and software, says some of the most common omissions include failing to sign and date your return, not including your payment (a check or credit card information), or neglecting to accurately report income from documents like a 1099 report on interest or dividends from a financial firm. Also check things like your filing status, address, dependents claimed, Social Security number, or bank’s routing number (when requesting a refund by direct deposit).

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