Tax Day freebies, scams and tips for next year

April 17, 2012 8:31:30 PM PDT
Protesters marched to the offices of several major corporations Tuesday afternoon, demanding they pay what the group considers a fair share of taxes.

"We're here to highlight the fact that working people pay their taxes, and it's time for corporations to pay their fair share, too," said Elizabeth Parisian of Stand Up Chicago.

The deadline for filing was midnight Tuesday.

On a day when millions of Americans paid the government what they owe, hundreds of thousands of others discovered they have been victims of identity theft. The Internal Revenue Service paid out nearly $1.5 billion in fake tax refunds last year.

The Agin family lost their daughter to cancer only to find someone had claimed her as a dependent.

"It's bad enough losing your child, but then to have somebody steal their identity, the last remaining vestige of your child, yeah, it's horrible," said Jonathon Agin, tax fraud victim.

There were some who procrastinated until the final hours not only to pay their taxes but to figure out what they owe.

"If you're expecting to owe, you want to find that out as late in life as possible and hang on to those dollars as long as you can possibly keep them in your bank account," said Laura Johns, H&R Block.

For those who managed to finish a little before the deadline, Oak Park's Maya Del Sol offered a treat. The menu was filled with blank boxes, and taxpayers got to eat what they like and name their own price.

"It's not a day anybody's happy about," said Todd Gunderson, Maya Del Sol "We wanted to give people something to do that was fun."

Even though Tax Day is traumatic for many taxpayers, financial advisor Cliff Morgan with Strategic Wealth Advisors says you should can make next year easier if you begin planning right away for next April 15th.

"Most people start tax planning April 14th for taxes that are due April 15th," he said. "Tax planning should actually start January 1," said Morgan.

The IRS has installed computer filters to identify returns they suspect might involve stolen identity. Experts say that could be very difficult because dead people have no privacy rights and their information is readily available to criminals.