If you didn’t file your individual tax return yet, don’t worry! The deadline to file this year is actually Tuesday, April 18th aka “Tax Day.” According to the IRS, 20-25% of taxpayers wait the last two weeks. If you waited this long to file, it’s usually because you know you are probably not receiving a refund, know that you owe taxes and need to shift your funds around, or just didn’t have the time to organize your paperwork. While you should file your return before April 18th, if you can’t, then you should file a six month extension to give yourself more time to file. Remember, filing an extension does not give you an extension to pay, just an extension of time to file by October 16th. If you owe, you must pay by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, April 18th or you will be penalized for not timely paying your taxes.
Here are some helpful tips for last minute filers … see procrastination sometimes is worth it:
Breathe! Time is of the essence but remember its better you are doing this now and not on April 18th. Gather your essential documents like Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc and then move onto the rest like your mortgage interest statements/real estate taxes paid, charitable contributions and daycare expenses. Clearly, you should take a look at 2015’s return and use it as a guide to gather each item carefully.
What if something changed from 2015?
Did you have a new addition to your family (new child, taking care of a parent, got married)? Reporting a change in your filing status is extremely important and needs to be reflected. A change from single to head of household could be huge.
Any big purchases last year?
Did you get married and pay a large amount of sales tax for the venue or vendors? How about a new car or big screen tv? Gather up your receipts and calculate the total because in order to qualify for the sales tax deduction, the taxes you paid on those big ticket items must be greater than your NYS total withholdings and/or estimated payments.
Did you purchase a new home and pay real estate taxes at the closing? If so, you will need to gather your HUD-1 statement or reconciliation from your attorney. The taxes you paid to the seller at closing can be deducted on your personal tax return at closing. So can any points that you paid.
What about home improvements? Credits still exist for energy efficient appliances, windows, doors, and boilers. These credits are not big, but it’s still money.
Don’t miss college expenses or student loan interest. How those are handled could save thousands.
Call an expert- Trying to save a few dollars can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in missed deductions.
We live in a digital age where most prefer communicating via text, email, online, or Googling everything before we make a decision. Easy and free is not the solution for every situation. Getting sound advice from a tax expert with years of solid experience is always good to have in your corner. Our business and tax advisory department is dedicated to helping taxpayers maximize tax savings, provide easy to follow tax strategies, and help you avoid future palpitations from the stress of last minute chaos.
Carissa Scanlon, CPA
Carissa joined Cerini & Associates in March, 2007, and has since provided both tax and audit services to various business industries. Carissa’s audit background with small to mid-size organizations gives her invaluable insight to the internal workings of a business that will allow her to fully assist to all of a company’s needs and growth.