Tips & Resources

Last-Minute Tax Filing Tips

Last-Minute Tax Filing Tips

If you haven’t filed your 2018 tax return yet, you are not alone. An estimated 25 percent of taxpayers procrastinate completing this annual task. We’ve put together some last-minute tax filing tips to offer a little extra motivation and put your mind at ease.

DON’T PANIC
As the Tax Day deadline looms, it’s easy to feel anxious and discouraged, especially if you haven’t even started your tax prep. Don’t panic! Take a deep breath, try to set aside any negative emotions, and look at the situation objectively. Filing your taxes is a necessary part of life, one that you’ve managed in the past and can manage again.

BLOCK OFF TIME
Tax prep can be a lengthy process. Open your digital calendar or planner and block off time that you can dedicate to gathering and organizing necessary documents and information. Let your family know that you’ve scheduled time for tax prep and try to limit any distractions. You may need to reserve time over several days. Be sure to give yourself a firm deadline, however, so that you do not continue to procrastinate.

REVIEW LAST YEAR’S RETURN
Your best guide for this year’s tax preparation is last year’s return. However, you will want to review recent tax reforms to determine whether you’ll need the same items, especially if you’ve previously itemized. The IRS publication Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families provides useful, easy-to-understand information. Find a checklist online that details what you’ll need and spend some time on the IRS website.

TAKE IT STEP-BY-STEP
Tax prep can be overwhelming. Approach the task in sections and take it step-by-step. First, gather your W-2(s) and any other income-related forms. Then move on to mortgage or other applicable interest, receipts for deductible expenses, retirement account contributions, and so on. Complete each section before moving on to the next to avoid any confusion or errors.

BE REALISTIC
Sometimes life gets in the way. Look at your upcoming schedule. If you’re unable to dedicate the time necessary to submit your return on time, you may need to file for a six-month extension. A common misperception is that if you request an extension to file your tax return, you’ll also receive that additional six months to pay what you owe. This is not the case. If you owe, you need to submit payment by the tax deadline, even if you haven’t filed. Your check must be postmarked April 15, or you can pay online with a credit card. Contact the IRS to set up a payment installment agreement if you’re unable to pay the full amount owed.

PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR
The best time to start preparing for next year’s tax season is now. Get organized and prepare year-round to avoid any last-minute panic a year from now.

The Bank of Elk River offers a variety of online resources for your financial life, including articles and information about taxes. Contact us for all your personal and business banking needs.

Tags
Tax Preparation 2018 Tax Return Tax Deadline

Categories:

Tips & Resources