April 15 is just around the corner, and for those who haven’t yet started compiling their return, that deadline looms large. Even if you’re scrambling, it’s not too late to make the most of your taxes with these last-minute tax tips.
Just because you’ve waited until the last minute to file your taxes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the biggest refund available to you. Take advantage of deductions and use all the tools at your disposal to make filing taxes as stress-free as possible.
Don’t forget deductions
Deductions decrease the amount of income that you have to pay taxes on, which in turn lowers the taxes you owe. Even if you’re rushing to get your return filed on time, you don’t want to miss out on deductions you may be eligible for!
- Job-related deductions: Depending upon your occupation, you may be able to deduct some or all of the cost of supplies and other items you’ve paid for out of your own pocket. If you have questions about what job-related deductions you may be eligible for, check out IRS Publication 529.
- Donation deductions: In some instances, donations can be deducted even if they weren’t in the form of cash. Determine the value of donated items with the Donation Value Guide from The Salvation Army.
- Overlooked deductions: Be sure to deduct any state taxes you owed last April and jury pay your employer required you to fork over. Self-employed folks traveling on business can deduct baggage fees.
Find forms quickly
If you can’t find some pertinent form mailed to you weeks ago, check online. Most financial institutions allow you to download and print property tax information and interest statements from your online account.
Check your work
Take the time to double-check your return. Even if it’s late at night on April 15, confirm that your math is correct. Also ensure that Social Security numbers are properly noted and that everything is correct and complete. Simple mistakes can delay your refund.
Make the best of a bad situation
If you’re putting off filing because you’re certain you will owe but lack the funds to pay, file anyway. The IRS offers taxpayers the ability to create a payment plan or may approve a filing tax extension for you.
You’ll be in deeper water if you don’t file at all. It’s far better to go ahead and file and request the payment plan than to ignore the deadline.
If you’re worried that the process of filing online is too complicated, take solace in the fact that most tax software is incredibly user-friendly. Best of all, if you’ve waited until the last minute to file, you don’t have to worry about dashing to the post office to mail your forms.
Procrastinators, you’re not alone; the IRS reports that up to 25% of Americans wait until the two weeks prior to April 15 to file. That makes for a large number of people seeking out last-minute tax tips right before deadline.
What is your top tip for filing as painlessly as possible?
Get tax tips for armed services personnel to help you file your taxes on time and maximize your savings.
Request an extension
Despite the best of intentions, you may find yourself in need of a bit more time to put your return together. You can buy yourself six months with an extension. You’ll need to estimate how much you may owe and complete and submit Form 4868. Note that an extension does not grant you extra time to pay your taxes – it merely buys time to submit the completed return.