Last-minute tax tips for procrastinators.
With April 18, 2017, looming ahead, many of us are satisfied in the knowledge that we’ve already filed our tax returns. If you haven’t, though, there’s no need to panic. About 28 percent of the population waits until the last few weeks to file. If you’re in that group, here are some steps to help you avoid mistakes and file before the deadline.
Gather and organize your documents. When you sit down to prepare your taxes, make sure documents like W-2s from employers, and 1099s from contract work are all in one place. Also, don’t forget receipts from DMV fees, job search expenses, and charitable contributions.
Decide how you’ll file. If you plan to file yourself, ensure that you have downloaded the right software and have everything you need before you begin. If you’re hiring a professional, make sure to book an appointment as soon as you can.
Double-check important information. One of the top mistakes taxpayers make when rushing to meet the deadline is gathering incorrect Social Security numbers for their children and spouses. Ensure that you have the correct Social Security number and any more identification numbers when you prepare for filing. Your return solely depends on correct information.
Maximize your deductions. You may be thinking you’re only eligible for the standard deduction that the IRS gives you. You may be able to maximize your deductions by gathering your receipts for things like charitable contributions and other expenses that will give you a bigger tax deduction.
File even if you owe! You can get an extra six months to file your taxes with an extension, but remember that it’s an extension, not a reason to not pay. If you owe money, you still need to send the IRS at least 90 percent of your tax liability to avoid a penalty. If you can’t pay, you may be eligible for an installment payment plan for up to six years.