Last-Minute Tax Filing Tips for Procrastinating Taxpayers
Are you one of the millions of last-minute tax filing Americans? If so, you are not alone. In fact, according to IRS figures, in 2017 nearly 44 million tax filers filed in April, the bulk of whom filed the last week taxes are due.
As millions rush to collect tax documents and file, you probably want to know the top tips for last-minute tax filing, right? Well, you have come to the right place. While there are advantages to filing early in the tax season, you still don’t have to rush through the process– even if you are a last-minute tax filer.
Keep the following tips for last-minute tax filing in mind to get through the process without any problems:
1 – Take Your Time – Haste Makes Waste!
If you are determined to hit the April 17 tax deadline, remember haste makes waste. If you take the DIY-approach to taxes, take the time to ensure there are no data entry errors – like your name, Social Security number, or address. Also, ensure you have claimed all the tax deductions and credits you are entitled to. Another common error for procrastinators is to fail to sign your return. If you do this, your return is not valid.
If you made a mistake on your tax return, all hope is not lost! You can always file an amended tax return through Block Advisors. You and your tax advisor can work to correct mistakes when there is incomplete, incorrect, or omitted information on your original tax return – even if you’ve already filed. Amend your tax return especially if you forgot to claim credits and deductions, or need to correct filing status and income – whether the result is a tax refund or a tax bill. Here are the steps to amend a tax return. You will need to complete and send Form 1040X to amend a federal income tax return that you previously filed.
2 – Assistance Is At Your Fingertips
You might think that every tax advisor is tied up this time of year, but this might not be the case. For instance, at Block Advisors, you can look up the tax office location closest to you and find available time slots. You may be surprised to see that the tax advisors have a good amount of last-minute availability. And our tax advisors average 15 years of experience in tax preparation. Plus, you are guaranteed an accurate tax return.
Beyond simple clerical errors and forgetting critical tax credits and deductions, remember, that tax reform will affect next year’s tax return, so really, changes are happening. The tax code is complicated, especially with the newly passed tax reform, just another reason to consider the support of a tax professional.
3 – Get Prepared
Last-minute tax filing can leave you in a tizzy, which is why it’s important to have the right tax documents in place. Once you have set up an appointment, your tax advisor will guide you through the document collection process before your appointment to make sure you’re making the most of your time with us. They will have you gather the following information:
- Personal information
- Employee information
- Childcare expenses
- Charitable contributions
- Medical expenses
- Self-employment information
- Retirement information
- Rental income
- State & local taxes or sales tax
- Financial information
- Educational expenses
- Job expenses
4 – File An Extension
If you don’t take action on your tax return on or before April 17, you will be subject to IRS penalties. If you file your federal tax return late and owe tax with the return, you may face the failure-to-file penalty for paying late, which is typically 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. (It can’t exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes).
If you choose to file an extension, you or your chosen tax preparer should file Form 4868 to give you another six months of breathing room. Remember: if you owe the IRS, you need to make an estimated payment to avoid the failure-to-file penalty. Another consideration is that states have different rules on filing a tax extension. Most states require you to file a state extension in addition to a federal extension.
5 – Think Forward
Even if this year you didn’t prioritize tax planning, you can always make it a priority next year. Get your tax documents ready sooner in the tax season and be mindful that tax planning can be a year-round endeavor. In fact, at Block Advisors, you can get a 365 Tax Plan for year-to-year tax planning, which includes recommendations to help you minimize your taxes and reach your financial goals.