Are you one of the around 10 million taxpayers who got an extension to file? I was.
Are you one of this group who's yet to file a tax return? I am.
What are we waiting for?
We paid any tax we owed, or a close guesstimation of our tax bill, when we filed for the extra six months back in April. So we're not that worried about a big tax bill.
And we fully intended to get to the tax task sooner rather than later.
But we woke up today, took a look at the calendar (or our smartphone) and realized it's Aug. 1!
Tax time's a-wasting: We're into the eighth month of 2016 and as of today, according to the countdown clock over in the ol' blog's right column, we only have 77 days to get our 1040s filled out and to the Internal Revenue Service.
Sure, we legally have until Monday, Oct. 17 (the usual Oct. 15 deadline is Saturday, pushing the due date to the next weekday) to complete the job. But there are some good reasons -- three, to be exact, for this post's purposes -- why we should end our filing procrastination.
- You'll stop any penalty and interest accrual. If you do discover you owe a bit more than you paid with your Form 4868 extension, the sooner you send Uncle Sam the unpaid balance, the sooner the penalty and interest charges stop.
- You'll collect your refund. Yes, even people who are getting refunds sometimes get extensions to file. I get it. Life got in the way in mid-April and you needed some extra time to calculate the exact amount you're due. But it's been two and a half months! There's got to be something you want to do with your money that the feds are holding. File already and get it back!
- You'll ensure that you continue to get the advance premium tax credit (PTC). If you got this government subsidy payment to help pay for your Affordable Care Act mandated minimally acceptable health care coverage, you must file a return to make sure you keep getting advance credit payments in future years. Even if you filed for an extension, if you do not file a return (along with Form 8962) and reconcile your 2015 advance PTC by the Marketplace's fall re-enrollment period, your eligibility for these payments might not be determined in time for you to get PTC money next tax year.
So whatever your reason for not filing your extended tax return yet, get off the stick and file ASAP.
More monthly tax moves: Getting your delayed tax filing out of the way is just one of the August Tax Moves you should make. In the next 31 days, you also should --
Take advantage of tax-free shopping: Fourteen states are holding sales tax holidays this year. Most of them -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia-- are the first weekend (or part of it) of August. Connecticut and Maryland's events are later in the month. If you live in one of these places, you might be able to save a few tax dollars if you're a savvy sales tax holiday shopper.
Chill out: It's summer. Enjoy it! A great way to while away a hot summer day is at the pool. And if it's your own backyard oasis, even better. In some cases, specifically when your swimming pool is a legitimate medical expense, you can count some of the construction and maintenance costs as tax deductible medical expenses.
Clean out your closets: If your procrastination also meant you missed out on spring cleaning, take care of that now. Charities will take your potentially tax-deductible donations of clothing and household goods year-round. They'll also gladly accept cash contributions in August or any month.
These are just a few of the tax tasks you can take care of this month. You can find more in the August Tax Moves listed over in the ol' blog's right column. The monthly tax tips, with the red heading like the one there to the right, start just below the tax-filing extension countdown clock and trampoline loving dog.
While the Dog Days of summer usually aren't the most productive for any of us, tax procrastinator or not, August can still be a great time to take care of some important tax moves. Now!