What a joy to enter the month of April. Spring is in the air and flower fanciers look forward to April showers bringing the May flowers. Some celebrate Easter and while others celebrate Passover. Even April Fool's day brings fun to the season.
But the absolute best thing about April is April 16th. Yes, that's right. April 16th is the best day of the year because we finally get a breather from worrying about filing our income tax returns.
Let's face it, no matter what your situation, you can find some relief on April 16th. If you have already filed your return, you get a kick out of watching your friends and co-workers rush around trying to file their own returns. If you have been rushing trying to make the deadline, and have made it, you can be glad that it is finally over. If you didn't make the deadline, well, that's what they made extensions for. File the extension and relax until August 15th, when you can frantically try and get your return filed again.
There's no doubt. This can be a very fun time of year and to add to your fun, we thought we would leave all you late filers with a few last minute tips.
First, let us assure you that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. The absolute worst thing that can happen on April 16th is you forget to file the extension and the IRS charges you a little interest if you wind up owing income taxes. The jails are too crowded to lock up late filers.
Ok, here are a few last minute tips.
Filing Your Return
If you haven't brought us, or your tax preparer, all of your information, do it now!
Many tax preparers have a deadline, after which they will not guarantee your return will be completed. That doesn't mean it won't be filed on time, just that they won't promise the return will be filed by April 16th.
Once you receive your tax return, go ahead and file it. Unless you owe a bundle, the lost interest between now and April 16th probably won't break you, but there is nothing worse than holding the return until the last possible moment, and then forgetting to mail it in. Trust us, it happens.
If you have decided to extend, or are forced to extend, make sure you fill out the form completely. Don't forget to put how much tax you think you owe and what you have paid in. Even if you can't pay everything now, you must still complete the form.
A Word About Mailing Your Return
Several years ago, assuming you use certain specified services of designated carriers, the U.S. Congress said if you mail your return on the last day, it will be considered a timely filing even if you don't use the United States Postal Service. Here is a list of what qualifies.
s Overnight Air Express Service, Next Afternoon Service and Second Day Service;
FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight and FedEx 2nd Day Air;
DHL Worldwide Express
DHL Same Day Service and DHL USA Overnight;
United Parcel Service
UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.
Remember, these private delivery services cannot deliver to Post Office Boxes, so you will have to use the physical addresses. To find these addresses, you will need to contact the IRS. If you plan to send your return or extension by private carrier, be sure to call ahead and find out the proper address.
Last Minute Payments
If you are deducting a profit sharing, SEP, IRA or other retirement plan contribution on your Schedule C, or 1040, make sure you pay it before you file the return. The IRA contribution has to be paid by April 16th, but if you extend, you have until the next due date or the date the return is filed to make the other contributions. We recommend the deposit be made a day or two before the return is filed.
If you are in a partnership, make sure you partnership returns are filed by April 16th. If your partnership has retirement plan contributions it plans to make and deduct, be sure the contribution is paid before filing the return.
Internal Revenue Service Assistance
You have to hand it to the IRS. Even if it is the government agency we love to hate, it does a pretty good job of giving us quality information. Their website really is a first class operation. Following are some of the more useful links in their individual
- This section is an interactive tool to give you information on a variety of topics. You simply answer the questions and it tailors an answer to your situation.
Do You need to File a Federal Income Tax Return
? As the name implies, this is a tool to help you decide if you need to file an income tax return. Why do it if you don't need to?
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Do you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit? Go here to find out.
Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
Go here to answer your questions about the education tax credits.
Contact the IRS
If you need to know where to send your return, check out this interactive map.
It's April 15th and the Post Office is closed. Unfortunately, your library has run out of tax forms too. What do you do? Follow this link. It'll get you what you need.
Interactive Installment Payment Process
Do you owe and are you ready to file, but you can't pay? This site will help you set up a payment plan with the IRS. But don't worry; it won't save you penalties and interest. Those will still be charged until you pay everything off.
This may sound stupid, but we have seen it happen. If you are going to file your return and do it by mail, please be sure to put the proper postage on it.
Make sure your check for Federal Taxes is made out to the United States Treasury and is included with the return. Don't forget to put you Social Security Number and Form 1040 on it. If you pay state income taxes the same is true, but you would have a different payee and form number. Also, make sure you put the Federal return in the envelope going to the IRS and the state return in the envelope going to the state taxing authority.
Again, you may think these suggestions are rudimentary and so obvious that mentioning them is stupid. However, we have seen it happen. It wasn't a pretty sight.
All kidding aside, we know some people will come to our website who are not our clients. That's great and we welcome all of you. We also invite you to become our clients.
Until then, please feel free to follow the links on this page to get the information you need. Then come see us and we'll discuss how we can help you.
For our clients, if you haven't brought us your information, please do so soon. We will be glad to take care of anything you need done up to, but not including, writing the check to the IRS. That's on you. As always, please let us know how we can help you.
Have a great month!