Last-minute tax day tasks

April 15 is almost here. Are those of you in the U.S. ready to file your income taxes? If not, break out that shoebox full of receipts, because Uncle Sam is waiting. The following are suggestions for ways you can get organized for tax time, relatively painlessly.

Gather up obvious tax documents

I half-jokingly mentioned the shoebox previously because having all of your documents in one place is extremely convenient. Before you sit down to work out your taxes, gather all your relevant tax documents into a folder or bin labeled for “Income taxes.” In addition to your employer-issued forms, don’t forget to print or otherwise assemble any deduction documents you’re going to need. (Go ahead and start a folder now for next year, as your future-self will thank you.) It’s so much easier than fishing around for that one piece of paper you need but just can’t find or, worse yet, having to request a duplicate copy from your employer or contract work site.

Note contributions

They’re easy to forget, so take extra effort to find your end-of-year statements regarding contributions you made to a 401(k), Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and/or SEP. Have these numbers quickly accessible, too.

Recall the previous year’s experience

Take the time to write down answers to the questions you’ll likely be asked by an accountant or on a tax form, like did you make any charitable donations or perform energy-saving improvements to your home? Is there a home office you can take into consideration? Did you pay for any child care? Again, the 10 minutes you take to do this now will be a big time-saver later.

Schedule a couple hours between now and Friday to DO IT

You’ve procrastinated long enough. Give yourself two or three hours to sit down and take care of this responsibility. The IRS help lines are swarmed this time of year, but if you really get stuck give them a call or set up an appointment with a major tax preparer (if you can somehow get an appointment). Friday is the big day, so do what you need to do right away.

Good luck, and don’t spend that refund all in one place.

7 Comments for “Last-minute tax day tasks”

  1. posted by Dorothy on

    Get out a folder or envelope and label it “Taxes 2016.” Put every document related to this year’s taxes into it as you receive them. When you prepare your tax return next year, all your documents will be waiting for you in one place.

  2. posted by Katie on

    Actually, officially tax day is next Monday, April 18 -http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2016/04/11/a-few-more-days-to-pay-tax-day-is-april-18-this-year/#609952bf36ee

  3. posted by Jenna on

    Actually, the deadline is Monday, April 18th this year. Hooray for an extra weekend!

    https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/2016-Tax-Season-Opens-Jan-19-for-Nations-Taxpayers

    -Jenna

  4. posted by Jenna on

    Oops, looks like Katie and I submitted our comments at the same time! Now I’m “that” person who types the same thing someone else just did. #judgment

  5. posted by supriadi on

    thanks for sharing it…. i realy liked it…
    Always success..
    Best regards,

    Supriadi
    http://kertasnasi.com

  6. posted by liz on

    Don’t stress out – we all have delayed in the past. If you are close, but not done, then guess, write a check for the estimate and file for an extension. Then sit down and do the return. Removal of the stress can help in completion but don’t let it wait until the next deadline.

    When you do the return, look at each line and decide what you need to save. Set up files to track that info. When your return is done, keep a copy and keep the backup of the detail. If you get audited, it is so much easier to pull out a complete file than having to find the check or invoice that backs up that one expense. Very important if you do a relative’s return where you may not have access to stuff in a year or two. You did the return and they threw out the stuff – major stress!!!!

  7. posted by Mary Johnson on

    In at least Massachusetts and Maine the due date is April 19, even for IRS filing, – but you should check with your state. Most states seem to using the same date as IRS as last time they did not it was a mess, but it is always best to check with your state.

    I never get a refund. I don’t want one. If one gets a refund IRS/your state have had the free use of your money. If you pay in equal to last year’s tax (for most people) or 90% of what you owe you can pay the balance now and not have any penalty or interest and you had the use of your money instead of IRS.

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