- File For Free: Everyone can use the IRS Free File, a tax prep software that won't cost you a cent.
- Do It Online: If you file your taxes electronically, you'll get your tax refund back faster, and your tax forms will be more accurate. Your information will also be safer since you're submitting it through a secure transmission.
- Late Filers Should Extend: You should file an extension, Form 4868, if you can't file your taxes by April 15. You'll be given a six-month extension until October 15.
- Extension Is For Returns: Be aware that although you are filing for an extension, that will only apply for your return. The extended deadline is not for the taxes that are due — you will still have to pay them off before tax day. If you can't pay it off, you should still file on time and pay whatever you can to avoid the late fees and penalties. Then, work a payment plan out with the IRS.
- Check and Recheck: The April 15 deadline may be make you nervous and cause you to rush when doing your taxes. Be sure to double check your work to ensure that you're not making some of these really common mistakes filers often make.
Keep in mind that tax extensions only buy you time for filing your return, but they don't let you postpone the payment of taxes owed. So if you are filing for an extension but need to pay taxes, you need to have it paid by April 15 to avoid penalties.
Filing an extension will give you an extra six months to complete and file your tax return. And it's simple — all you need to do to extend the deadline to Oct. 15 is to file the paper form of Form 4868 or through the online e-file system.
We all know that filing taxes can be a downer sometimes. What you need to do to get you through taxes is to listen to a couple of motivational songs. There's nothing like music to help you get through tough times. I found a few songs that will inspire you and some that might make you laugh.
Statistically speaking, about half of marriages in the US end in divorce. This means that it's a reality that many people face. You have to deal with a lot during a divorce, not to mention more complicated paperwork during tax time. Read these tips from Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block, to make sure you're on top of things as April 15 approaches.
It sounds great to work from home, but that also means you'll have more taxes to do! Freelancers don't have their tax taken out of their pay automatically like salaried employees do, which just makes doing taxes a little more complicated. To make sure you're on the right track, Kathy Pickering, the executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block, shares some tax tips every freelancer should know.
If you're dragging your feet on doing your taxes, it's time to get started on them now. After all, April 15 is just around the corner. Why put off the inevitable? Here are a couple of tips to help you get started.
Fill out the simple details. Take a deep breath and just start. Filling out details like your name and address isn't so hard, right? Take one step at a time and work on it across several nights after work or on the weekend. Slowly, but surely, you'll make your way to the end. Trying to tackle everything in one go may overwhelm you, so it's better to take it slow.
Find a buddy. Find a tax buddy and resolve to do taxes together on a designated day. Make a date out of it and do it at home while watching old episodes of The Office or schedule to meet up and bring your laptops to a hip neighborhood café.
Announce it. Announce your intentions to work on your taxes to the world . . . OK, well, maybe just Facebook and Twitter. Seeing all the "likes" and comments roll in will definitely motivate you to do them. And the cherry on top? Telling everyone that you're done with taxes and just waiting for your juicy refund to come.
Reward yourself. Promise to reward yourself with a small treat when you're done. Perhaps it's a blueberry yogurt or a relaxing massage. Create positive incentives to give you the extra push you need to complete your taxes.
Going green can save you some green during tax time. If you are attempting to improve the environment or just cut the cost of your personal energy use, then the tax law may provide a tax benefit for your good citizenship. Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block, shares some potential benefits for energy-savers. There are many tax changes that have been implemented, so read on to find out what credits you're still eligible for:
If you're pretending to nod along when your pal's complaining about her taxes, perhaps you need to read this quick cheat sheet by LearnVest that addresses everything you've been wondering about filing.
Exemptions, filing status, and freelance taxes — if any of these have you scratching your head, we can help. We talked to LearnVest Planning Services certified financial planner Samantha Vient for answers to all your (really, not that embarrassing) questions.
1. Are there any benefits to filing early? And what happens if I file after the deadline?
The main benefit of filing before April is getting your tax refund back sooner. But filing really close to the deadline could also cost you money. "If you're working with a CPA and you dump your tax stuff on them two weeks before April 15," Vient says, "most people will charge you a premium." And doing your taxes earlier will mean that if you hit a snag like a missing form or needing to resolve a big question, you have more time to solve it.
"In 2012, you can claim a tax deduction of $3,800 for each dependent child, relative, and maybe even a friend that you supported the entire year. For 2013, the deduction increases to $3,900. These exemptions reduce the portion of your income that is subject to federal tax. If you are in the 15 percent bracket, this will save you $570 per dependent for 2012, and at 25 percent, $950 in 2012. The higher your tax bracket, the more each dependency exemption saves you."
Child Tax Credit
"You may also be eligible for a tax credit, which is even better than a deduction, since it reduces your taxes dollar for dollar. The Child Tax Credit is an additional $1,000 credit you may be able to claim for children under 17. For married couples with income over $110,000 or $75,000 for a single parent, the credit phases out."
- Social Security numbers. Many people input incorrect or missing Social Security numbers, so make sure you're entering in the same numbers that are on your Social Security card.
- Dependent's last name. You'd be surprised to know that many people misspell their dependent's last name. Make sure you use the same name that's used on their Social Security card.
- Filing status. Many people choose the wrong filing status. Be familiar with the five filing statuses, which are single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widower with dependent child. To figure out which status is the most suitable for your situation, read Publication 501.