March 15th marked this year’s corporate tax deadline. I hope your accountant filed your corporate taxes or at least filed for an extension. Now it’s time to get personal, at least when it comes to your taxes. This year the personal tax deadline is April 17th. Because April 15th falls on a weekend, you get two extra days to file your paperwork.
Before you sign and either hit send electronically or put your tax return in the mail, there are some things you should do to ensure that the IRS won’t audit or send your return back. Here are some of my suggestions:
- FILL OUT EVERYTHING – I feel like even writing this down seems ridiculous, but you would not believe how many people get their tax returns audited or questioned because of missing information. Whether you’re doing your own taxes or your accountant is, make sure to take a few minutes to do a line-by-line review of your tax form. You’ll thank me for this later.
- CHECK THE MATH – As a bookkeeper, who happens to be an accountant, my pet peeve is math mistakes. Believe it or not, one of the biggest problems with tax returns every year is that the math is wrong. Make sure you or your accountant double check your math, whether you owe or are owed money.
- PAY UP IF YOU OWE – If you owe the IRS money pay it, even if you plan to file an extension. The IRS is good about offering extensions, but they want you to pay if you owe. Try to pay 90% of the amount you owe, if not, you could face a late payment penalty; that amount could include penalties and interest. The late filing penalty could be 5% of your unpaid tax every month or a part of the month that goes unpaid. That number could accrue for up to five months and/or go up to a 25% penalty.
- ASK FOR AN EXTENSION – If your accountant can’t get your taxes filed on time, you can ask for a six-month extension. But remember, like we explained earlier, if you owe money, you must pay up. But if you are owed a refund, there is no penalty for filing late. Funny how that works right?
We’re less than a month away from the personal tax filing deadline. If you haven’t already, stop procrastinating and file your taxes. You’ll feel accomplished once it’s done and hopefully a little richer if the government owes you money back.