Pay taxes first to state or feds?

Filing your tax returns at the last minute can be overwhelming.

It’s only 11 days until the tax deadline.

But experts said there is no reason to panic; there are a few tips to keep in mind that will make the whole process a little easier and less painful in your wallet.

CPA Randy Cloud said choosing direct deposit on a refund should not be a security concern.

“One of the things we keep hearing people say is ‘Well, I don’t want the IRS in my computer, in my bank account,'” Cloud said. “I promise you, the IRS already knows where you bank. It’s not a secret.”

To avoid standing in those postal lines, file your tax return online at www.irs.gov.

The government’s Free File is all electronic and you may get your refund in as little as 10 days.

But if you owe money to the IRS and the state of Oklahoma and can’t afford to pay both of them, Cloud said pay the state first.

You can negotiate a payment plan with the feds but the state’s interest rate and late fees can become very expensive.

“A 15 percent annual interest rate and a 5 percent late payment penalty and they are statutorily, by constitution, not allowed to negotiate,” Cloud said.

Bonnie Marr, with IRS Taxpayer Assistance, advises filers to double check their figures.

Getting a social security number wrong can hurt your chances of, among other things, getting deductions.

“If you have questions, go to the website and we do have the walk-in office downtown,” Marr said.

Also, if you need to file an extension, you still have to pay the government by April 15.

But the IRS will work with you on a feasible payment plan.

“Yes, it’s not as scary as you might think; we can work with you,” Marr said, “But I would do it now. It’s not quite crunch time but we’re getting there.”

Watch out for crooks who steal a person’s social security number, then file a tax return, pretending to be that person.

Contact the IRS if you fear this has happened to you.

Marr said you will still get your refund but it may take longer than usual.