It’s likely that we’ve all done it at some point or another over the years — and if you’ve procrastinated on doing your taxes, then you’re not alone. In fact, 14 million people waited until the last minute to file last year. While filing your taxes may not be the first thing on your mind when you think “springtime,” it should be. In fact, the longer you wait to file your taxes, the higher the chance will be that it can cause issues for you, possibly even resulting in penalties due to rushed mistakes and late submissions.
At Brennan and Company CPA, PC, we offer expert business consulting services throughout the Philadelphia region, and we’re also the go-to source for tips, advice, and information for all things tax related. If you’ve hesitated to pay your taxes until the last minute, then follow these guidelines so you can meet the April 15th deadline confidently and accurately.
Prepare your Paperwork
Since you already know that you’ll need several pieces of information when you file your taxes, then it’s a good idea to get them ready before sitting down to file. You probably already received a few tax-related documents in the mail, so you’ll want to get them ready. Additionally, you can expect to need social security numbers for both yourself and your family, as well as:
● Receipts for charitable contributions
● 1098s for homeowners
● 1098-Es for those with student loans from the federal government
● 1095s for health insurance coverage
Take Your Time
Filing your taxes requires meticulous attention to detail, so don’t rush it when you’re filing as this can lead to costly mistakes. Some of the most common last-minute filing errors include:
● Entering the wrong social security number
● Checking the wrong box
● Incorrect bank routing numbers
● Omitting earning from freelance work or side jobs
● Real estate taxes paid
● Property taxes paid
Prevent these careless errors by ensuring accuracy when you file, and have it double-checked by someone you trust. Trying to get through your taxes in one sitting can be a daunting task. Instead, consider breaking it up into a few smaller sessions to make it more manageable.
Know What to Do If You Miss the Deadline or Can’t Pay
If you miss the tax deadline, then you’ll need to take a few steps. First, you’ll need to request a tax extension form the IRS, using a Form 4868. However, you’ll still need to pay what you owe by the deadline to avoid both interest and late penalties. If you can’t pay your tax bill, you should still file it anyway to limit the damage.
Start Planning for Next Year
Hopefully, procrastinating on your taxes can be a lesson moving forward. You don’t want to make a habit of waiting until the last minute or missing the deadline entirely. Throughout the upcoming year, keep all your tax-related documents organized in a folder so you’ll have easy and organized access to them when the next deadline comes. Additionally, consider opening a separate savings account for your taxes. This way, you can contribute to it monthly and ensure you’re financially prepared to pay on time next tax season.
Feeling overwhelmed, lacking the time, or have questions about filing your last minute tax returns? Let us help! We offer tax and financial consulting throughout Philadelphia. Call us today at 215-951-5585 to schedule a consultation. Don’t wait another minute — contact us today!