There are countless reasons why many Americans wait to the last minute to file their taxes. In fact, statistics show that the number of late filers is growing, which is okay as long as you do not over look anything. The following are five last minute tax tips just for you.
Take Your Time
When people are pressed for time, they feel rushed. Well, you need to do your best to take it easy so that you avoid common errors like entering the wrong Social Security number for you or anyone in your family. Others might list incorrect bank routing numbers while others make mathematical errors.
Some forget other data like dividends, state tax refunds, unemployment payments, or freelance work earnings, just to name a few.
Reduce Your Tax Bill
No one wants to be stuck with a larger bill than they have to. This is the reason why you should do your best to do a few things to reduce the amount you might owe by the time you file. Now, you do have to be 70.5 or younger to use this contribution trick, but you can contribute to your self-employed 401(k), IRA, or your health savings account (HSA) before your return is due. Keep in mind that this does not include any extensions if you have to file them.
You are not superhuman, and it is okay to ask for a little help if you need it. Of course, you can always find a professional tax preparer to help you deal with your return, but there is also the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that helps those who need assistance with basic income-tax needs. You can also take advantage of programs that help you file electronically like the VITA program.
You can file by paper, but the process is much longer. It might feel alien to you if you have not done it before, but there are several programs like the VITA program mentioned earlier that guide you through it, and the IRS reports that the error rate when filing electronically is less than one percent, which is better than the 21 percent error rate when filing on paper.
Late Filers Prepare
It might seem like you have to worry about that dreaded deadline, but the truth is that this only applies to those who owe money. The IRS does not seem to worry so much if you are going to be getting money back. Those who know they might not make the deadline may need to file an automatic extension with Form 4868. This usually gives you an extra six months to file. Keep in mind that you still have to pay on time.
It should be noted that those that forget to file on time might end up paying late fees or penalties. The penalties amount to five percent for each month that passes.
Hopefully, these tips have made that last minute rush to finish your tax return a little easier.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.