No one likes filing taxes, so you’ll be happy to know that you have an extra three days in 2017. April 15, the usual due date, falls on a Saturday, and because Washington D.C. has an Emancipation Day holiday on the following Monday, your tax returns aren’t due until April 18, 2017.
If the thought of an extra three days doesn’t ease your anxiety about filing your tax returns, consider the tips below to simplify the process and make tax season less stressful.
Before meeting with your accountant or filing your return yourself, follow these tips:
Get Your Documents Together
Filing taxes can be a complicated process, so don’t make it harder by leaving your paperwork unorganized. Try to keep your documents filed/organized as you move through the year so it’s even easier at tax time; if you didn’t do so for 2016, you should consider making it a New Year’s resolution for 2017.
Either way, before filing, make sure you have the following information/documentation:
- Your social security number or tax ID number
- Your spouse’s (if applicable) name, social security number, and tax ID number
- Information about your dependents
- Forms to document sources of income (such as your W-2 form)
- Types of deductions you can make
For a complete list of information, look here; if you own a business, you’ll need an entirely different set of documents, and you can read more about that here.
Know Your Deduction Options
If making tax filing easier isn’t reason enough to keep track of your documents throughout the year, consider this: the government allows you to deduct expenses related to your job, loan interest, medical expenses, charitable donations, and more – but only if you can provide documentation. Although some institutions offer an end-of-the-year report on how much you paid and how much of that was interest, stay safe by keeping receipts and applicable account statements if you’re planning to file for deductions.
Keep Track of Unpaid Sales Tax
When you make a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store, sales tax is automatically added to the price. If you make a lot of online purchases, however, that often isn’t the case; retail websites like Amazon and Etsy rarely charge sales tax. You’re still responsible for paying that sales tax, however, so you need to keep records of the purchases you make throughout the year for this purpose. (Amazon makes it “easy” by sending you an email telling you how much you spent on their site for the year and a link to both the sales tax laws for your state and instructions on how to pay.)
Don’t Forget About Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act requires all individuals to have health insurance throughout the year. If you or your family aren’t covered under a health plan, you may be subject to a fine. If, however, you do have coverage – through a plan purchased through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, an employer, or a spouse, it doesn’t matter which – the plan administrator will send you documentation of the coverage. If you don’t have proof of coverage when you file your taxes, you may be subject to the fine.
Holdfast Wealth Management wants to help you be prepared for tax season so you can focus on growing your wealth and living the life you deserve. For more information on our services or to schedule a consultation with a financial advisor, contact us today.