8 Last Minute Tax Tips to Help You Make the Tax Deadline

The tax deadline is just a day away, but you still have time to go online and file your taxes.

The IRS reports that more than half of taxpayers have already filed their returns, but if you’re in the 20 to 25% who waited until the last minute to prepare your taxes, here are some steps to help you file your taxes by the tax deadline and get a bigger tax refund.

Gather and organize your documents.  Before sitting down to prepare your taxes, organize your tax forms by category.

Put anything related to income (W-2s, 1099s) together and next receipts for expenses (mortgage interest 1098, property taxes, DMV documents, charitable contribution receipts, and business expenses to name a few). This way you will have everything ready and won’t leave anything out.

Go online.   According to the IRS, self-prepared e-filed tax returns from home computers are up approximately six percent compared to last tax season.

Avoid long lines and the hassle of making an appointment by going online to prepare your return.

You can conveniently and accurately file your taxes anytime, anywhere and if you have a simple tax return you can save an average of $100 over the leading tax store.  Taxpayers can file with TurboTax up until 11:59 on April 15 and get IRS confirmation that their return has been accepted.

E-file with direct deposit. E-file with direct deposit is easy, secure and the fastest way to get your tax refund. 9 out of 10 tax refunds are issued within 21 days or less, compared with six to eight weeks for paper-filed tax returns.

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.

Make sure you have the correct Social Security numbers when you prepare your taxes. Correct Social Security numbers are required to get valuable tax deductions, credits and exemptions.

Maximize your deductions.  Even if you wait until the last minute, don’t forget about the money you shelled out for expenses in 2013. Taxpayers often forget about tax deductions like previous state tax liability paid, job search expenses, summer day camp—even the cost of moving a pet may save you money on taxes.

Remember to include charitable contributions made throughout the year (i.e. donated clothing, household goods and even mileage to and from charitable events). ItsDeductible from TurboTax will help you estimate the fair market value of donated goods and items.  When you file with TurboTax, you will be asked simple questions about you and TurboTax will check your tax return for all the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for.

The IRS reports that the majority of taxpayers – about 75 percent – take the easy way out and take the standard deduction, but including a few additional receipts may push you over the standard deduction, lowering your tax liability.

Make a last-minute tax move. Most money-saving tax moves have to be made by the end of the tax year, but you still have one more opportunity to lower your tax liability on the taxes you’re filing.

Until you file by the April 15 deadline, you can still contribute up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re over 50) to your traditional individual retirement account and take advantage of a deduction for your contribution.

File even if you owe. You can get an extra six months to file your taxes with an extension, but remember that a tax extension is an extension to file and not to pay.

If you owe money, you still need to send the IRS at least 90 percent of your tax liability to avoid a tax penalty. If you can’t pay, you may be eligible for an installment payment plan for up to six years.

Get Tax Help.  If you have tax questions, you can get them answered by our TurboTax tax experts who are CPAs and Enrolled Agents for free when you use TurboTax Online or TurboTax SnapTax.

With these tips and TurboTax you can easily and accurately file your taxes before the tax deadline.

 

TurboTaxLisa

Lisa Lewis is a CPA and the TurboTax Blog Editor. Lisa has 15 years of experience in tax preparation. Her success is attributed to being able to interpret tax laws and help clients better understand them. Lisa also has been a TurboTax product user for many years and understands how the software program works. In addition to extensive tax experience, Lisa also has a very well-rounded professional background. She has held positions as a public auditor, controller, and operations manager. Prior to becoming the TurboTax Blog Editor, she was a Technical Writer for the TurboTax Consumer Group and worked on a project to write new FAQs to help customers better understand tax laws. She could also be seen helping TurboTax customers with tax questions during Lifeline. For Lisa, getting timely and accurate information out to customers to help them is paramount.

Comments (3) Leave your comment

  1. Re the 1098 Form – is the mortgage interest on home equity debt (HELOC) on/secured by your first home, which was used to finance the building of your second home, all tax deductible up to the $1 million limit ?

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