Make April 15 Less Taxing
With just three days left until taxes are due, the pressure is FULL ON to make the April 15th filing deadline! However, to help ease some of your tax time anxiety, I chatted with Bob Meighan, Vice President & CPA of Turbo Tax to get some Fab & Fru last minute tax filing tips. Here’s what Bob had to say!
If You Haven’t Filed yet, You Are Not Alone
25 million Americans wait until April 15th to file their taxes or to file an extension!
Save Time & Get Your Return Back Faster by Filing Electronically!
80% of Americans get money back after filing, and the average tax return is $3,050! If you file electronically, you’ll receive your return in 10 days opposed to the 4-6 weeks it will take for the IRS accounting department to cut you a check. If you select direct deposit- you’ll get it even a couple days sooner! –The motto of Turbo Taxes is “go online instead of getting in line”! But even if you’re not using software like Turbo Tax, you or your accountant can file online through the IRS site directly or by using other tax filing software.
Don’t Wait to File Because You Owe Money!
Just because you don’t want to PAY Uncle Sam until the 15th, doesn’t mean you can’t file your taxes today! If you file electronically, you can submit your forms now while electronically scheduling an automatic debit from your account for April 15th!
When you file an extension, you will have an extra six months to get your paperwork to the IRS (October 15th). HOWEVER, the government does not give you an extension on the money you may owe to them. This means, to avoid any penalties you must do some basic work on your taxes NOW. Turbo Tax offers FREE software called Taxcaster that helps you determine what you owe. Turbo tax will file your extension electronically for $10 and you can schedule an automatic debit from your account, for the money you owe, up to midnight April 15th.
Take Advantage of NEW & ENDING Tax Credits
1. The New Home Buyer $8,000 Credit is ending! However, if you sign a contract by April 30th & close by June 30 2010, you are still eligible for the credit on your 2010 taxes.
2. If you bought a new car in 2009, you can deduct the sales tax from the purchase. Note: this credit ended at the end of 2009.
3. The Teacher’s $250 classroom supply deduction is ending soon. If you’re a teacher make sure to take advantage of it NOW!
4. If you made any energy efficiency home improvements this year, you are likely eligible for a tax credit!
5. If you donated to the Haiti or Chile disasters in 2010, you can take the deduction on your 2009 taxes.
Track Your Expenses Throughout the Year
Bob told me that there are a ton of things people can do during the year to make tax time more organized and efficient. However, the reality is you don’t have to make yourself crazy all year long! The most important thing to do is to keep track of your expenses & save your receipts (even if just in a shoebox). Quicken offers a feature to help you track your expenses.
The most overlooked deduction is transportation costs! This year keep close track of your gas mileage, subway fares, train tickets or bus fares that you accumulate when going to see clients, your rental property, the doctor, or doing charity work (including making a donation or going to an event). Keep a paper trail of your miles and make sure you take all the deductions that apply to your situation!
Many thanks to Bob and Turbo tax for their insider tips. While we’re not claiming that prepping for April 15 will EVER be fun, we are saying that with a little organization and the right tools, it can be made easier and less stressful than most people make it. The key now, is to buckle down, and put 2009 behind you!
Turbo Tax & Quicken are affiliate sponsors of the site, but this is not a paid endorsement.| Print