Have you filed your 2015 tax return yet? Don't feel bad. You are definitely not alone.
The Internal Revenue Service on Friday, Oct. 7, noted that fewer than a third of the 13 million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month extension earlier this year have yet to file.
Our taxes are done! I am pleased to say that I am no longer part of that group. I finished up my 2015 Form 1040 and associated forms and schedules today.
That gives me more than a week to send in my contribution to max out my 2015 SEP-IRA. I know, I should get to this sooner so that the money has more time to grow tax deferred until I need it.
But this last contribution is not that much. I put most of what I could into that retirement account last year and am now just topping it off based on my final freelance income amount on my now done Schedule C.
By virtue of my not at the very last minute tax form preparation, that takes the number of folks still tax procrastinating to, roughly, 8.7 million minus 1. And that -- the 8.7 million, not the single tax return I just completed -- is this week's By the Numbers figure.
Last-minute filing tips: In announcing the number of taxpayers that it's still waiting on, the IRS also provides some tax tips for all y'all (not me anymore!) last-minute filers.
One of them was to pay attention to possible tax credits. Credits are better than deductions because they offer you a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill.
The IRS suggests folks take a good look at the three, often overlooked tax credits highlighted below.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is designed to helps low- and moderate-income workers. If you have a larger family, you'll get a larger EITC, but it's also available to taxpayers without children. The nice thing about this credit is that it's refundable, meaning you could get money back from Uncle Sam even if you don't owe. You can use the IRS' online EITC Assistant to see if you're eligible.
Savers Credit offers a bonus to folks putting money into a retirement plan, such as an IRA or workplace 401(k). This credit also is aimed at lower earning taxpayers as a way to encourage them to save for their post-work year.
American Opportunity Tax Credit, created by the Obama Administration, helps cover some college costs. A portion of this tax credit also is refundable to some taxpayers.
E-file recommended: In addition to making sure you don't miss any tax breaks, be sure to file the most efficient way, too.
For most folks, that's e-filing. While there are still some paper holdouts, most folks nowadays are electronically sending their 1040s to the IRS. The tax software can download your supporting documents, like W-2 and 1099 forms; it walks people through the filing process; and, most importantly, it does the math for you.
And with Free File, you might not have to buy a tax preparation software program. If your adjusted gross income is $62,000 or less, the online free tax prep and e-filing option is available through the Oct. 17 extension deadline.
As the absolutely, positively final filing deadline nears, I'll post more tips to you can get your 1040 in on time and avoid any possible penalties.