Many individuals will be working to gather paperwork over the next few days to complete taxes. The April 15th tax deadline seems to sneak up quickly every year. As we near the finish line of tax season, here are a few helpful reminders from the TurboTax team.
- Don’t waste time taking your taxes to someone. There’s no reason to take your taxes to someone when you can file from the comfort of your own home or even on the go. Plus, millions of taxpayers with a simple tax return can file both their federal and state tax returns for free with TurboTax Free Edition. With TurboTax Free Edition, new and returning users get free data transfer giving them up to a 50% head start while eliminating data entry, the ability to jump-start your taxes by snapping a photo of your W-2, free driver’s license bar code scan, free step-by-step guidance to help you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, free audit guidance, and tax reform guidance.
- Keep your forms in one place. Nothing is worse than not having a form when you need it. Grab all of those income documents: W-2s, 1099’s, Retirement Income, Investment income, Unemployment, Self Employment receipts and paperwork for tax-deductible expenses. Tax supporting forms that report student loan interest, education expenses for colleges, and mortgage interest will also be necessary if you’ve had any of those expenses. If you are self-employed, make sure you have your 1099-Misc or 1099-K forms. Also, remember if you are self-employed you may not necessarily receive a form 1099-Misc or 1099-K, but you still need to claim all of your income. Don’t forget, you can also claim your business expenses which will lower your taxable income.
- Pick a time and place. Pick a time and space that does not require you to be in a hurry. Rushing while doing your taxes can cause you to leave something out or enter information incorrectly. Make sure to verify dependents’ correct birth-dates and social security numbers. This basic information is required to claim valuable tax deductions and credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), or the new credit for other dependents.
- Frequently overlooked tax deductions. Several above-the-line tax deductions are frequently overlooked and can lower your taxable income. Self-employed individuals should take advantage of Self-Employed Health Insurance tax deduction (SEHI), while other deductions include: student loan interest deduction, teachers educator deduction for school supplies purchased up to $250, and deductible portion of your IRA contributions.
- Yes, you still may be able to itemize!: Although TurboTax estimates that about 90% of taxpayers will now take the standard deduction instead of itemizing, up from about 70% last tax season, gathering a few additional receipts for tax-deductible expenses may push you over the standard deduction and lower your tax liability. Review these items for a potential tax benefit:
- Previous state tax liability paid
- Charitable contributions – pro tip: TurboTax ItsDeductible will help you track and accurately value your donated items.
- Points paid to purchase a new home or refinance an existing home
- Get your tax refund. Even if you are below the IRS filing threshold ($12,000 single and $24,000 married filing jointly), you should still file a return especially if federal taxes were withheld and if you are eligible for a refundable tax credit like the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS reports about $1 billion in unclaimed refunds and more recent data reveals the average unclaimed tax refund is close to $800.
- U.S. Citizens and Military. Remember, if you are a U.S. citizen, a resident alien residing overseas, or are in the military on duty outside the United States on tax filing date deadline, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file your tax return and you can pay any amount due without requesting an extension. Interest will accrue on taxes due, but, not penalties.
- If you need help, you can talk to a CPA or Enrolled Agent. If you have tax questions you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live with a CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average 15 years experience and get your tax questions answered from the comfort of home or on the go. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in Spanish and English and can review, sign and file your tax return.
What are you waiting for? Start filing your taxes today, your refund is waiting! By going online to prepare your taxes, you can save time and money and can still talk to a CPA or Enrolled Agent if needed.