No avoiding the tax man

While e-filing and do-it-yourself tax software for your home computer promise to make income tax season a breeze, everyone knows it's never as easy as 1-2-3.

In case you're still trying to figure out what Earned Income Tax Credit means or debating whether to trust a computer to calculate your precious refund, here's a guide to get you started:

Important deadlines

• Jan. 31: Employers must make W-2s available to workers

• Feb. 11: First day taxpayers who qualify for the Alternative Minimum Tax can file their returns

• April 15: All income taxes must be filed or postmarked. It's also the deadline to request an extension.

Note: Remember, if you owe money, you have to pay or have a payment plan arranged by April 15.

No one files an income tax return without scratching their head at some point. The following are answers to some of the most common questions:

Common questions

1 Percent error rate on tax returns filed electronically

20 Percent error rate on tax returns filed on paper

25 Percent of eligible taxpayers who don't claim the earned income tax credit

67 Percent of South Carolinians who filed electronically last year

72 Pays until the tax filing deadline

73 Percent of South Carolinians eligible for free file