If you haven’t filed your 2016 income tax return yet, the clock is ticking. Chances are you filed for a tax extension on April 18, giving you a 6-month grace period to send your final tax return to the IRS. But now time is running out! You have until 11:59 pm local time to file your taxes. If you’ve been procrastinating, there’s no need to worry. Here are a few last-minute tax tips to help you make the tax filing deadline today:
Have your documents in one place: When you sit down to file your taxes make sure you have all the necessary documents like W-2s, 1099s, receipts for expenses, mortgage interest, and your kids’ social security numbers in front of you.
Remember what you did last year: While you might feel rushed to hurry up and file before the tax deadline, take a moment to remember your receipts for items you donated to charity, your job search expenses, or unreimbursed employee expenses. These expenses might lead to nice tax deductions.
Go online and file electronically: Forget filling out handwritten forms or waiting in line at a tax store; you can file online from home! Filing electronically online is a quick, easy and accurate way to file your taxes. Your tax return is sent electronically to the IRS and you will receive notification of receipt from the IRS.
Review your information carefully: Before you file, go through your tax return and double check the names, addresses, social security numbers, and wages entered. Since you are not allowed any additional extensions on personal income taxes past the October 16 tax extension deadline, you will want to double check this information.
Save a copy for your records: You should always save a copy of your tax return for your records. You can easily make a PDF copy when you use TurboTax and you can also save your tax return on a flash drive.
Also remember, that starting in 2016 you need to enter your previous year’s adjusted gross income when you electronically file. On your 2015 tax return, your AGI is on line 37 of the Form 1040; line 21 on the Form 1040-A or line 4 on the Form 1040-EZ. Generally, if you already used TurboTax in 2015 your adjusted gross income will automatically be entered in your tax return.
As you are going back through your records and finding those receipts from 2016, here are some common expenses that are often overlooked and potentially tax-deductible:
Unreimbursed employment expenses: If you paid for something business-related without getting reimbursed by your employer, it might be tax-deductible. For example, if you were required to pay for a cell phone for work, or if you spent some of your own money on a business trip, you might be able to deduct those expenses.
Job hunting expenses: Did you spend money traveling to job interviews or having someone review your resume? You may be able to deduct certain expenses, but only if you are looking for a job in the same field. Unfortunately, if you’d like to change occupations, no deduction is permitted.
Medical expenses: You may receive a tax deduction if your medical expenses that were paid out of pocket are above 10% of your adjusted gross income (or 7.5% for 2016 if you or your spouse are 65 or older) you may be eligible for a tax deduction.
Charitable contributions: Don’t forget about those good deeds! Whether it’s a cash contribution or household goods, you may be able to claim your donation as a tax deduction against your income and reduce your tax burden if you donated to a qualified charity or religious organization. TurboTax ItsDeductible will help you easily and accurately value and track your donations.
*Victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the California wildfires who filed a valid extension, may qualify for relief which includes an extension of time to file until January 31, 2018.
With these tips and the help from TurboTax, you will be able to file before the final extension deadline. Remember, TurboTax will ask you simple tax questions and gives you the tax deductions and credits you are eligible for based on your answers.