Last Minute Tax Tips

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Tax Day is April 17th. If you’re one of the 20-15% of all taxpayers who wait until the last two weeks to file your taxes, don’t worry! There are plenty of things that you can do to not only get your taxes done in time, but to get the best refund possible. Before the remaining days turn into hours, follow these simple tips for getting your taxes done.

Be prepared

Make sure you have all of your necessary tax paperwork. Making a checklist of the documentation necessary to file your taxes can help to ensure that an item is not accidentally left off of your tax return. Reviewing your 2016 return is a great way to remind yourself of what you typically deduct and what you might need to file.

If you discover that you’re missing a crucial document, don’t panic. There’s a good chance that replacing it will be as easy as a call to your company’s HR representative. By getting your necessary tax documents in order today, you should still have enough time to resolve any issues that might arise.

File faster online

The IRS offers free electronic filing options that can make filing your taxes faster, easier, and less prone to errors. If you’re in need of assistance, but don’t want to hire a professional, there are there also are a number of online tax software options that can help you through the filing process.

TurboTax is probably the biggest name in tax preparation software. TurboTax offers useful and intuitive tools, such as experts to chat with and the option to upload a screenshot of your W-2, that help navigate the complications of filing your taxes. They offer a free version and a deluxe version, depending on your tax situation. Some additional online filing programs that are affordable or free are H&R Block, Credit Karma, and TaxAct premium.

File, even if you can’t pay

Did you know that filing a tax return on time and paying less than what you might owe isn’t nearly as costly as not filing at all? In fact, the penalty for not filing a tax return could be as much as 10 times greater than the penalty for not paying in full. Be aware that you can reduce late payment interest and penalties by paying as much as you can with your tax return. You should explore other payment options such as getting a loan or making an installment agreement to make payments. The IRS will work with you.

File an extension

If you’re not able to file your taxes by the April 17th deadline, consider filing an extension. If you file an extension, you will have an additional 6 months to complete your return. It’s important to understand, however, that this is not an extension to pay. Taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should also pay any amount due or risk paying interest. If you're a U.S. citizens or resident alien who live and work abroad, a member of the military on duty outside the US, or have been affected by certain recent severe natural disasters, you may automatically qualify for an extension. For full details, visit the IRS website.

Although it’s not panic time quite yet, it is important to get organized and have a strategy in place for getting your taxes done as soon as possible! 

 

Fiona McCurdy