Last-Minute Tax Filing Tips for Procrastinating Taxpayers
4 min read
April 10, 2018 • Block Advisors
Are you one of the millions of last-minute tax filing Americans? If so, you are not alone. According to the IRS, over 25 million tax filers filed in April last year – many of whom filed the last week taxes are due.
As millions rush to collect tax documents and file, you probably want to know the top tips for last-minute tax filing…
While there are advantages to filing early in the tax season, you still don’t have to rush through the process–even if you are a last-minute tax filer.
Keep the following tips for last-minute tax filing in mind to get through the process without any problems:
1 – Assistance is at Your Fingertips
You might think every tax advisor is tied up with appointments so late in the tax season, but this might not be the case. (At Block Advisors, for example, you can look up the tax office location closest to you and find available appointment times.) You may be surprised to see that the tax advisors have a good amount of last-minute availability. And our tax advisors average 15 years of experience in tax preparation.
The tax code is different this year with tax reform affecting most taxpayers for the first time, so it’s just another reason to consider the support of a tax advisor.
2 – Haste Makes Waste!
If you are determined to hit the April 15 tax deadline, remember haste makes waste. If you take the do-it-yourself approach to taxes, take the time to ensure there are no data entry errors–like your name, Social Security number, and address. Also, make sure you’ve claimed the tax deductions and credits you are entitled to. Another common error for procrastinators who paper file is to fail to sign your return. If you do this, your return is not valid. (Note: this only applies to paper filers.)
If you made a mistake on your tax return, all hope is not lost! You can file an amended tax return through Block Advisors. You and your tax advisor can work to correct mistakes when there is incomplete, incorrect, or omitted information on your original tax return – even if you’ve already filed. Amend your tax return especially if you forgot to claim credits and deductions, or need to correct filing status and income – whether the result is a tax refund or a tax bill.
3 – Get Prepared
Last-minute tax filing can make you stressed, which is why it’s important to have the right tax documents in place. Once you have set up an appointment, your tax advisor will guide you through the document collection process before your appointment to make sure you’re making the most of your time with us. They will have you gather the following information:
- Personal information
- Employee information
- Childcare expenses
- Charitable contributions
- Medical expenses
- Self-employment information
- Retirement information
- Rental income
- State & local taxes or sales tax
- Financial information
- Educational expenses
- Job expenses
4 – File An Extension
If you don’t take action on your tax return on or before April 15, you will be subject to IRS penalties. If you file your federal tax return late and owe tax with the return, you may face the failure-to-file penalty for paying late, which is typically 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. (It can’t exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes).
If you choose to file an extension, you or your chosen tax preparer should file Form 4868 to give you another six months of breathing room. Remember: if you owe the IRS, you need to make an estimated payment and send it with your extension to avoid the failure-to-pay penalty. Another consideration is that states have different rules on filing a tax extension. Most states require you to file a state extension in addition to a federal extension.
5 – Think Forward
Even if this year you didn’t prioritize tax planning, you can always make it a priority next year. Get your tax documents ready sooner in the tax season and be mindful that tax planning can be a year-round endeavor. In fact, at Block Advisors, you can get a 365 Tax Plan, which includes recommendations to help you minimize your taxes and reach your financial goals.