Last Minute Tax Tips - - No One Gets You Closer

Last Minute Tax Tips


With the tax deadline just around the corner, the pressure is on for procrastinators who still haven't filed their taxes - and if you're one of those people struggling to get your papers in, financial professional Scott Maxwell from Talis Advisors is here with a few last-minute tax tips to help.

Q: Let's get everyone on the same page - what is the actual deadline for filing your taxes?

A: You have until Tuesday, April 15th at to send in your tax return. Whether you are filing by snail mail or online, remember you have to have your return postmarked or time-stamped by 11:59pm. I recommend my clients file their returns electronically. That will help you avoid those long lines at the post office, and you'll get your return quicker, too.

Q:  What would you tell someone who has procrastinated until now - what is the #1 thing they should focus on when they're putting their taxes together?

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A: Just get it right – two of the most common mistakes on tax returns are listing an incorrect Social Security number or doing your math wrong. These mistakes are completely avoidable, but sometimes in the last-minute rush, people overlook them. Make sure to double-check because these errors can cost you money in your tax refund or flag you for an audit.

Q: When should you ask for an extension?  

A:  A lot of people think that filing an extension is a bad thing - but it is not ‘frowned upon' by the IRS. In fact, they prefer that people ask for an extension so they can get it right the first time. If you can't get all of your paperwork together by the deadline, an extension will give you an extra 6 months to file. But, remember if you owe taxes, you still need to pay them by April 15th. So, make your best estimate and make sure you get your return filed by October 15th.

Q: Is there a fee for filing an extension?

A: Basically, there are two penalties the IRS charges fees for: a late filing fee and a late payment fee. If you file an extension and you get your return in within 6 months, you may still get hit with the late payment fee, but you can avoid the late filing fee altogether.

Q: What is the biggest pitfall of waiting to file? 

A:  If you are expecting a refund, you'll have to wait longer to get your money. The longer you wait to file, the longer it takes the IRS to process your return. You can get your money quicker by e-filing and using direct deposit. Direct deposit is also a safer way to get your money because your check isn't sitting in your mailbox.

Once you've filed you can track your refund through the IRS - I've put a link on my website