Tax day this year falls on Monday, April 18th. That means that everyone’s taxes must be filed by this deadline.
Completing this annoyingly complicated but necessary task can be a daunting task. There are a lot of forms you need to collect and even more you have to fill out. And sometimes it’s hard to get everything together on time.
The IRS is sympathetic to cases in which someone hasn’t completed his or her taxes on time, TurboTax explained. People in this predicament can apply for a tax extension, which will give them another 6 months to complete their taxes.
It’s free to file for the extension, though it has the same April 18th deadline.
Once you do file for a tax extension, though, it’s best to take care of them as soon as possible. The quicker you complete your taxes, the sooner the stress of knowing you have to file them goes away.
Here are some tax tips to help you get organized:
1. Gather Your Supplies
The first things you’ll need when filing your taxes are the important documents like your W-2s, 1099 forms and any information about deductions.
If you have children or are filing jointly with a spouse, have their social security numbers ready as well.
Gather all of these forms and put them in one place that is safe and easy to find.
2. Decide How To File
There are many different options for you to file your taxes. H&R Block, TurboTax and TaxAct are some of the top programs you can use, according to The Simple Dollar. Each of them has free versions, though you can pay extra for an upgraded system.
Bankrate also pointed out that the IRS and several tax software companies have teamed up to create Free File, a program that allows people who make less than $62,000 a year to file their taxes for free.
3. Double-Check Before Filing
TurboTax advised people to double-check all their information before sending in taxes. A simple mistake can mean complications later on.
One of the easiest mistakes to make is getting the social security numbers for one of your dependents wrong.
These 10-digit numbers can be difficult to get right every time you write or type them out, but they are essential to receiving the tax deductions, exemptions and credits you qualify for.
4. Form A Plan & Stick To It Next Year
If you found yourself scrambling to get your taxes done this year, learn from your mistakes to ensure a smoother process next year.
Dedicate a specific area to collect forms you’ll need to file your taxes. The major ones, like your W2s, won’t come your way until next year, but it’s good to start collecting receipts and other information that qualify you for deductions and other benefits throughout the year.
If you have a filing cabinet at home, this is a great place to keep these important documents.
Or, if you prefer to do things online, scan receipts and other files to keep them in a Dropbox or similar online account. NerdWallet explained some apps, like Shoeboxed and Expensify, can help organize receipts. Shoeboxed will even change photos into formats accepted by the IRS.
5. Realize When You Need A Tax Extension
TurboTax explained there are plenty of good reasons to file for a tax extension on your taxes.
For instance, if you’ll be traveling out of the country during tax season, why spend your time away filing taxes when you can get them done in six months after you’re back in the states?
Or, if some of your personal information is incorrect, consider applying for a tax extension. This kind of thing can make filing your taxes more complicated, so it’s best to wait until the errors are straightened out before diving into your taxes.
If you just aren’t prepared come April 18, don’t rush to get your taxes done and risk making a mistake.
File for that tax extension, take a deep breath and then get started.
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