Procrastination of tax returns is not a unique phenomenon. In fact, a lot of tax payers file their tax returns in the last two weeks before the deadline. Filing tax returns earlier than the deadlines is better as you are not rushed and chances of making mistakes is also lower. However, if you are racing against the deadline clock for your returns, here are some tips to help you get through.
Keeping all the stuff together can be a big relief while you are filing your tax returns, as you do not have to get into frenzy in the search of documents. Make it point to have documents such as Form 1099-INT (reflects any interests that you have earned), Form 1098 (reflects any mortgage interests that you have paid) and Form W-2 (usually sent by employers and contains your income).
Also, keep your social security number handy before you start filing for tax returns. If you are filing for taxes jointly, then you need to have the social security number of your partner.
The moment you have gathered all your documents, and are ready for filing your tax returns, do it electronically. Do not take only our words for it, even experts recommend filing your tax returns electronically. Going online and filing your tax return, allows you for a more accurate filing process. It also ensures that tax refunds if any are faster as well.
As you are filing up taxes at the last moment, the chances of making minor and silly mistakes can delay the process. Though you can always amend the same, it is going to make the refund process a tad lengthier. The most common mistakes that tax payers make while filing taxes in a hurry are:
- Mathematical errors
- Individuals fail to sign the tax returns or mention the date on the returns
- Tax payers at times write their social security number incorrectly
- Tax Savings Options
You might be really close to deadline of filing your tax returns, but that doesn’t mean you cannot take help of last minute tax saving options. Investing in a traditional IRA will help you bring down your taxable income amount by $5,500 if your age is within 50 years and by $6,500 if you are above 50 years.
Alternatively, you can use your health savings account for tax deductions as well. If you have made contributions towards health savings account, there is no reason you should be shying away from adding these to your tax returns.Ask for Help
If you usually take the help of a professional tax preparer or just aren’t sure about some aspects of tax filing, worrying is not the solution. There are a few alternatives available for the same such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. These volunteers are certified by the IRS and can help you out with your basic income tax return filing. Also, they file the returns electronically, which ensures the process is faster and without any hassles.
If everything else fails and you are too close for filing tax returns, the safest option is to apply for extension. You need to fill up the Form 4868 before the deadline to get an extension on your tax filing. It is important to note that the extension is only on the filing of returns and not paying of taxes.
Though you can file at the last moment, preparing in advance is a good practice and will keep you away from any mistakes. Going online will save you a lot of effort and in the worst case, you should opt for extension.
Have a question? Contact Nanda Kumar.
Your comments are always welcome!
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