File for an ExtensionIf it’s looking grim in terms of getting your returns in on time, you do have one lifeline at your disposal: the extension. The government allows for an additional six months – yes, half a year! – to file your taxes, effectively pushing the due date from mid-April to mid-October. While there’s a chance that you’ll only need a few extra days, this option is especially useful for those who have tricky finances. Just don’t let this be an excuse to put your taxes off until October 14.
Figure Out Your FormsOnce you’re ready to go and get all this done and over with, you’ll need to know the right forms to fill out. The paperwork you’re required to do depends on a few different factors, such as your income level, if you’re self-employed, and if you want to claim deductions this year. The IRS has anticipated your confusion and written up a short online guide to choosing the right forms to fill out.
Send Them Off or File OnlineWhile you can certainly choose to send off your forms via snail mail, many people nowadays instead choose the convenience and swiftness of filing online. If you make less than $62,000 a year, you can fill out forms directly on the IRS’s website, but regardless of how much you make, you can still choose to use commercial software as well. If you’re going to send your taxes off through the mail, which address you need to send it to depends on which state you’re filing for. The IRS’s website has a list of each state’s addresses.
File an Amended Return If You Made a MistakeWe all make mistakes. Such is life. But the IRS isn’t as forgiving as our friends and families when it comes to the errors of our ways. Thankfully, you’re allowed a do-over in the form of an amended return, which lets you make revisions to a tax return that’s up to three years old.
Plan B: Use a Tax Professional
If this whole process still has you overwhelmed, it might be time to hire a tax preparer. While it will cost you some money, it will save you the trouble of doing it all yourself and potentially make a mistake. Do note that if you’re considering this option near the end of tax season, the accountant may choose to file an extension for you so that they can get to you when the business of tax season has died down a bit.
Very few enjoy doing their taxes, but don’t let this be a reason for skipping them entirely. It should go without saying that choosing to not file your taxes can land you in some serious heat. Everyone is subject to taxes, so if anyone can do them, you can too!
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