It’s Your Last Weekend to File: Tips to Get Your #TaxesDone

Tax Planning 4.15

Did you wait until the last minute to file your taxes? Luckily, you have until this Monday, April 18th* to file because April 15th happens to be a holiday called Emancipation Day in Washington, DC. Surprise! You just got three more days, which can mean the difference between filing on time and filing late.

A late filing penalty applies if you owe taxes and didn’t file your return or extension by April 18, 2016.

  • This penalty also applies if you owe taxes, filed an extension, but didn’t file your return by October 17, 2016.
  • The late filing penalty is 5% of the additional taxes owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) your return is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
  • If you file more than 60 days after the due date, the minimum penalty is $135 or 100% of your unpaid tax, whichever is smaller.
  • Tip: The late filing penalty can be 10 times higher than the late payment penalty. If you can’t pay your tax bill and didn’t file an extension, at least file your return as soon as possible! You can always amend it later.

Here are six tips to get your #TaxesDone:

1.  Prepare and Organize

Gather all of your necessary tax forms like W-2s and 1099s in one place.

2.  Check Spelling of Names and Social Security Numbers

The most common tax errors have to do with spelling your name correctly, employer’s name, and social security numbers.  TurboTax helps you eliminate these errors since you may be able to import your W-2 information from your payroll provider and financial institution.  Better yet, you can jump-start your taxes by snapping a photo of your W-2 from your phone or tablet and TurboTax will transfer the information to the correct tax forms eliminating data entry.

3.  Know Your Dependents

This one seems to be obvious, but it always creeps up on the IRS top ten tax filing mistakes leader board. Next to filling in your name and social security number correctly, it’s important to know who your dependents are and if they qualify as such. If your dependents are left off your tax forms, you’re missing out on valuable tax credits and deductions. Who knows, you may be able to claim your friend who’s been crashing on your couch all year!

Also, adding a dependent that someone else is claiming is not allowed.  Only one person can claim a dependent. Don’t worry about knowing how to determine who is your dependent. TurboTax will ask you simple questions and give you the dependent deductions you are eligible for.

4.  E-file with Direct Deposit

If you want to avoid tax errors and get your tax refund as quickly as possible, ditch the paper and pencil! Go online and e-file with direct deposit.  You will avoid mathematical errors, and the IRS estimates that nine out of 10 taxpayers will receive their federal tax refund within 21 days when e-file is combined with direct deposit.

5.  Get Help

If you are preparing your taxes in the 11th hour of the tax deadline and you still have tax questions, you can get your tax questions answered by TurboTax experts who are CPAs and Enrolled Agents. If you are using the TurboTax Mobile App, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax expert exclusively through TurboTax SmartLook to get your questions answered in real time – for free.

6.  Still File if You Owe

Many taxpayers who owe think that by filing an extension they will get more time to pay, but an extension to file is not an extension to pay.  If you owe you should still file and try to pay what you can.  If you can’t pay anything you can request an installment agreement which may allow you to pay your tax liability over six years.

Using TurboTax and these last minute tax tips, will help you effortlessly and accurately file your taxes before the tax deadline and save money.

Good luck!

* Please note, if you live in Massachusetts or Maine your tax deadline is extended to April 19th this year.

 

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