Last Minute Tax Tips

For last-minute filers, Tax Day is creeping up fast. With less than a week away, many scramble to gather all their paperwork and get to the post office or file online before this year’s deadline of April 17. If you’re one of those people, slow down and review these tax tips to make sure you get your taxes filed correctly.

If you don’t have the necessary documentation or haven’t had time to visit with a tax professional, you may wish to file an extension. To do so, you must file Form 4868. This will give you until October 15 to file your taxes. If you owe taxes, submit your payment when you file for an extension to avoid penalties.

If you’re pushing to meet the deadline, make sure you aim for accuracy to avoid other issues. Be sure to include income from all sources when you file, including wages, interest and capital gains. Check the spelling of the names and social security numbers for yourself, your spouse if filing jointly and any dependents. If you’re planning to receive your refund via direct deposit, double check bank account numbers. Also, don’t overlook signing and dating your return before sending it off. This will prevent errors and omissions that may delay your actual filing date or refund payout.

There are some opportunities for deductions and credits that you should know about before you file. For example, if you qualify, you can receive a $1,000 maximum tax credit for each child 17 and under, and potentially for elderly parents that you financially care for. If you are a business owner or self-employed, you can deduct the cost of your insurance premiums as long as these premiums aren’t already covered under an employer-sponsored plan. Also your home office, mortgage interest and mortgage insurance premiums may be deducted, saving you big. Other potential benefits include IRA contributions made up to April 17, along with deductions you can take for job hunting expenses, relocation expenses if you moved over 50 miles away for a new job, and self-employment expenses.

If you still owe significant taxes after all of your deductions, you can ask to arrange to pay in installments. This arrangement will allow you to make payments over the course of six years. Others have opted to pay their taxes using a credit card, especially if the card has reward benefits. If you owe less than $50,000, you can set up the arrangement to pay online. The setup fee is reduced to only $31 if you agree to make debits directly from your bank account, making automated payments the best bet.

There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to consider when you’re filing and it can be worrisome if you’re rushing to do so on time. While you can use online filing tools, it’s wise to try to work with a tax expert so that you don’t overlook deductions and tax credits or fail to file appropriate forms. This is especially true since it may be the last time you’re able to qualify for a few of these deductions and credits with the new 2018 tax laws coming into effect.

Make some time to prep and file your taxes before it’s too late. You’ll be relieved when you do!

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