Did you know that 20 to 25 percent of all Americans procrastinate preparing their tax returns until the last two weeks before the deadline? Believe it, says the Internal Revenue Service. For all you people out there looking to gleam last-minute money saving tax tips, here are some guidelines of things to keep in mind when filing:
1. Get organized: Hopefully throughout the year you’ve kept documents and receipts altogether in one place. If you haven’t, search for every relevant document that can be helpful in accurately filing your taxes.
2. Include all income: Even side gigs count, like freelance jobs. If the IRS realizes you owe more than you reported, you’ll be liable to pay the extra tax as well as penalties and interest.
3. E-filing can help you catch and eliminate mistakes: Online software is built to catch errors, and the IRS actually offers free tax software to individuals with incomes under $58,000. H&R Block and TurboTax also offer free return forms online, and people filing their taxes electronically get a faster refund.
4. Check your bank account information: If you’ve signed up to get your return through direct deposit, make sure the information you give is accurate.
5. File an extension: If you believe you need more time to truly assess your options, ask for Form 4868, which gives filers a six-month extension. You’ll still have to send in a check on April 15, but you’ll have time after to review it and make sure everything is correct.
6. Every charity expense counts: Many people write off their charitable donations, but the eligible expenses don’t stop there. For every mile you drive getting to a charity or volunteer site, you’re eligible to deduct $0.14. Any other items you purchase, such as a volunteer uniform or manuals are also deductible.
7. Write off your tax service: Use a professional tax service? You can deduct the cost.
8. Check the small details: Make sure to sign and date your tax forms, write the correct social security numbers, and watch out for math errors.
9. Save money: You can contribute up to $5,500 annually to your traditional IRA, which will count as a deduction for your contribution.
10. Take advantage of above-the-line deductions: Lower your taxable income by writing off costs such as moving expenses, alimony paid, tuition and fees deduction for children, etc.