The air is cooling down and fall is already here! Another important day is also quickly approaching if you filed for a tax extension on April 15, giving you six more months to file your 2014 taxes. When you filed for an extension, the six month reprieve seemed like an eternity, but oh how time flies. You now have until the Thursday, October 15 tax extension deadline to file your taxes.
Whether you are due a tax refund, owe money, or need to file your taxes to report your Affordable Care Act advanced premium tax credit there’s no need to worry. Here are eight last minute tax tips to help you easily and accurately file your taxes by October 15.
Gather your documents in one place.
When you sit down to file your taxes make sure you have all the necessary documents like W-2s, 1099s, receipts for expenses, mortgage interest, and your kids’ social security numbers in front of you.
Go online and e-file.
According to the IRS, self-prepared e-filed tax returns from home computers are up about 5% compared to last tax season. TurboTax makes it easy to e-file your taxes online in the convenience of your own home. The TurboTax Mobile App also allows you to start filing your taxes on one device and move seamlessly across devices so you can do your taxes anywhere. At this point, if you take your taxes to someone you most likely will have to wait in line to get your taxes filed. By going online to prepare your taxes, you can save time and money, avoiding long lines and the hassle of making an appointment.
E-file with direct deposit.
If you are expecting a tax refund, e-file with direct deposit is easy, secure and the fastest way to get your tax refund. 9 out of 10 tax refunds are issued within 21 days or less, compared to six to eight weeks for paper-filed tax returns.
Double-check important information.
According to the IRS, one of the top mistakes taxpayers make when rushing to meet the tax deadline is gathering incorrect Social Security numbers for their children and spouses. Make sure you have the correct Social Security numbers when you prepare your taxes. Correct Social Security numbers are required to get valuable tax deductions, credits and exemptions.
Don’t forget what you did last year.
The IRS reports that the majority of taxpayers – about 75 percent – take the easy way out and take the standard deduction, but including a few additional receipts may push you over the standard deduction, lowering your tax liability. Don’t forget about the money you shelled out for expenses like previous state tax liability paid, job search expenses, summer day camp—even the cost of moving a pet may save you money on taxes.
Remember to include charitable contributions made throughout the year (i.e. donated clothing, household goods and even mileage to and from charitable events). TurboTax ItsDeductible will help you track and accurately value your donated items.
When you file with TurboTax, you will be asked simple questions about your life and TurboTax will check to see if you are eligible for over 350 tax deductions and credits.
File if you received Marketplace insurance assistance.
If you purchased a Marketplace insurance plan for 2014 and received assistance also known as an advanced premium tax credit to help you pay for health insurance, you may not be aware you are required to file your 2014 taxes and report the advanced premium tax credit received. Filing your 2014 federal taxes to report your assistance received is also the only way that you can qualify for assistance when you purchase 2016 health insurance in the Marketplace.
Even if you previously weren’t required to file taxes due to lower income in the past, you are now required to file your taxes if you received an advanced premium tax credit and you want future assistance.
File even if you owe.
If you filed a tax extension and e-file your taxes by the October 15 tax deadline you will avoid a failure-to-file penalty of 5% per month of the unpaid tax liability. Plus you may have a tax refund coming once TurboTax searches for over 350 tax deductions and credits you may be eligible for.
Even if you owe money, you can ask the IRS for an installment agreement when you file your taxes. The installment agreement will allow you to pay your tax debt over six years.
You can ask our tax experts your question.
If you have tax questions, you can get them answered by our TurboTax tax experts who are CPAs and Enrolled Agents when you use TurboTax Online.
Lisa Lewis is a CPA and the TurboTax Blog Editor. Lisa has 15 years of experience in tax preparation. Her success is attributed to being able to interpret tax laws and help clients better understand them. Lisa also has been a TurboTax product user for many years and understands how the software program works. In addition to extensive tax experience, Lisa also has a very well-rounded professional background. She has held positions as a public auditor, controller, and operations manager. Prior to becoming the TurboTax Blog Editor, she was a Technical Writer for the TurboTax Consumer Group and worked on a project to write new FAQs to help customers better understand tax laws. For Lisa, getting timely and accurate information out to customers to help them is paramount.
This blog first appeared on the TurboTax Blog.