Waiting until the last minute to file your taxes can lead to mistakes and missed opportunities. If you find yourself staring the deadline in the face and still haven’t completed your return, it’s time to hunker down and make the most of the remaining time with these last minute tax tips.
1. Get Organized: Collecting all the necessary forms and separating your receipts into categories can actually save you time as you work on your return. Gather everything together, and divide expenses into folders with appropriate labels. Business taxes in particular are much easier to complete when you can tell at a glance which receipts pertain to which types of expenses. While you’re organizing, get a head start on next year by filing this year’s receipts in their own set of folders.
2. Take Every Deduction: As you sort your tax paperwork, take note of anything that could be counted as a deduction. This may include charitable contributions, health care costs, volunteer expenses, student loan interest and various business transactions. To take a deduction in some of these categories, your expenses must exceed your adjusted gross income by a certain percent. The IRS clarifies the details on their website, and it helps to familiarize yourself with this information so that you can take full advantage of all deductions next year.
3. Consider E-filing: Filing online eliminates the stress of dealing with mounds of paperwork. It’s also much faster both in terms of submitting your return and getting your refund. In fact, many people who e-file get their returns in as little as three weeks. If you use a tax preparation program, you should be able to e-file directly from the software.
4. Double- and Triple-Check Everything: Making a mistake on your return because you’re in a hurry can cost you even more time, so be diligent about checking your math. Even tax preparation software isn’t fool-proof. A single incorrect entry can throw off calculations on the rest of a form, leading to over- or under-payment or missed opportunities for deductions. Go back over your return at least once before sending it out, and check one final time to make sure that you signed it and included all the right forms and personal information.
5. Get Help with Filing: Although it might be a little hard to find an available accountant or CPA as the tax deadline approaches, it’s worth a look if you begin to feel overwhelmed. These professionals can not only take the burden of tax preparation off your hands, but also find deductions you might miss on your own. The IRS also offers nationwide tax help for qualifying individuals through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
You can use these same tips to help maximize your refund next year, but don’t wait until you hardly have time left. Resolve to get an earlier start, so that you don’t have to worry about meeting the deadline or making errors as you scramble to finish your return.
At Verdeja, De Armas & Trujillo, our team of Miami tax consultants is dedicated to providing independent and unbiased tax recommendations for businesses and business interests of all sizes. Contact us today for a tax consultation!