Welcome to 2017's post-tax party, where we're celebrating the end on April 18 of the main filing season.
Yeah, me too.
But all's good because when we sent in our Form 4868, we paid any tax we guesstimated we owe. Right? Right.
And now we have until Oct. 16 to meet our new filing deadline. Yes, you read that right. It's Oct. 16 instead of Oct 15 since the regular six-more-months due date is on a Sunday this year.
So take a breath. But not too deeply or for too long.
While we've got more time to finish our 2016 taxes, that new deadline will arrive before we realize. Trust me. I'm a filing extension veteran and I know of what I speak. And my best advice is not to procrastinate until the absolutely, positively last tax-filing moment.
And if you have already filed, good for you. Remember, though, that your 2017 tax tab has been running since Jan. 1.
Once-a-week tax advice: Sorry to be a tax party pooper, but that's something we need to thing about, too, even if we're still working on last year's return. And here at the ol' blog, I've got your back regardless of exactly where in the filing process you are with Weekly Tax Tips.
As in previous years, a new piece of tax advice will be featured each Wednesday in the upper right corner of the ol' blog.
Many of the items will be for the majority of taxpayers who are done with last year's taxes and are looking for ways to trim this year's tax bill. A few, though, will be aimed at helping those of us who've yet to file do so, especially as October nears.
Either way, the once-a-week tax tips will continue through Dec. 27, the last Wednesday of the year.
A stray weekly tip or two also might show up in the opening week/weeks of January 2018 before I transition to the New Year's tax filing season and the return of the 2018 Daily Tax Tips.
But wait. I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's get back to this year and the 2017 Weekly Tax Tips.
- Tax issues for tippers and recipients — Whether you leave a tip for good service are the one who earns the gratuity, you could encounter some tax issues. (April 26, 2017)
- Tax record keeping tips — You're done with your taxes. Now it's time to store those key filing records. Why? Well, there are many reasons, but the key one is in case you're audited. So start sorting and saving! (May 3, 2017)
- Refund wrong. What now? — Your refund from Uncle Sam finally arrived, but it's not what you expected. Now what? Here's how to handle a tax check form the Internal Revenue Service that's too big (yay!) or too small (boo!). (May 10, 2017)
- Day camp counts toward child care tax credit — Whew! You got your kids into their favorite day camps. Now hold onto those receipts. Day camp costs count toward claiming the child and dependent care tax credit. (May 17, 2017)
- 7 property appraisal appeal tips — Homeowners want their homes to appreciate in value when they get ready to sell, but not so much when the tax appraiser comes around. That official value of your home could be too high, meaning your property tax bill also will be inflated. These steps, however, could help you appeal your appraisal and lower your real estate taxes. (May 24, 2017)
- 529 plans perks and pitfalls — Looking for a good gift for a high school graduate? Contribute to the soon to be college student's 529 plan. This tax-advantaged college savings account can help them cover many higher education costs. But beware of potential pitfalls, especially when withdrawing the money or applying for financial aid. (May 31, 2017)
- Education tax breaks overview — The high school diplomas have been handed out and mortar boards tossed in celebration. Now it's time to think about college and how to pay for it. Your Uncle Sam can help, thanks to a variety of tax-favored educational tax breaks. (June 7, 2017)
- The scoop on paying estimated taxes — The U.S. tax system is based on Uncle Sam getting his cut as you earn your money. Millions make sure that happens by paying estimated taxes four times a year. Here's the scoop on the estimated tax system, with an eye on the looming June 15 deadline. (June 14, 2017)
- 10 tax tips for newlyweds — After saying "I do," newly married couples face a list of tax to-do's, too. Here are 10 tax things couples who are planning their weddings or who have already exchanged vows should think about. (June 21, 2017)
- Deducting moving expenses — Americans have always been mobile. Our restlessness is even encouraged somewhat by the Internal Revenue Code, which offers a tax deduction for moving expenses. (June 28, 2017)
- Teens, summer jobs and taxes — Summer employment is a time-honored coming-of-age tradition for teenagers. It also could create tax consequences — and opportunities — for young workers. (July 5, 2017)
- Higher fees to set up tax installment plans — Taking a tip from tax-owing boxing champ Floyd Mayweather and looking to pay off your Internal Revenue Service bill over time? Take note of the new, and sometimes dramatically higher, IRS installment payment plan fee hikes that took effect this year. (July 12, 2017)
- Tax breaks can help cover adoption costs — If your family is growing via adoption, be sure you take advantage of the tax breaks — tax-free financial help from your employer and/or the adoption tax credit — that can help you cover the often high costs of this legal process. (July 19, 2017)
- Back-to-school tax holiday season in full swing — Tax holidays aren't good tax policy, but they're popular with shoppers. The 2017 back-to-school versions of these shopping events are underway. Find out if your state is one of the 16 this year with such events and if so, when you can shop and save. (July 26, 2017)
- Income, timing affect capital gains tax bill — Investors must weigh many factors, not just a surging stock market, when selling assets. A key consideration is tax ramifications. What you owe Uncle Sam in capital gains tax depends not only what to sell, but when you sell and your overall adjusted gross income. (Aug. 2, 2017)
- Hobby or business: Either way, income is taxable— Good news, you’re making a few bucks off your hobby. Bad news, that money is taxable income. And if you’re earning a lot on your avocation, maybe it’s time to consider turning it into a real business. You’ll still owe taxes, but you then can take advantage of expense deductions that could reduce the tax bite. (Aug. 9, 2017)
- The importance of taking a pre-disaster inventory — We’re about to head into the heart of the Atlantic hurricane season. That means it’s time to get ready, including taking a thorough inventory of your personal and business belonging. This information is critical if you must file insurance and subsequent tax loss claims related to a tropical storm or any other disaster. (Aug. 16, 2017)
- Why and how to adjust your withholding — Did you get a big refund this year? Or owed Uncle Sam more than you expected when you filed your Form 1040? Then it's time to adjust your payroll withholding. (Aug. 23, 2017)
- Getting tax help for disaster losses — Hurricane Harvey is still wreaking havoc, but some folks in hard-hit Texas are starting to dig out. The tax code can help by letting you claim some of your natural disaster losses. (Aug. 30, 2017)
- Recreating tax records — Records, tax and financial, are often among the property damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. If you lost, or never kept, these documents, you'll need to recreate them to take advantage of tax-related storm relief. (Sept. 6, 2017)
- Digitize your tax records — Are your tax records out of control? Digitize them. Electronic records free up physical storage space and generally are easier to organize and retrieve. That could be important if you ever have to produce them to prove to the Internal Revenue Service that your filing was correct. (Sept. 13, 2017)
- Beware of charity scams in the wake of disasters — The train of tragedies just keeps rolling. In the United States alone this September, we've had back-to-back major hurricanes hit the mainland, not to mention another Cat 4 raking U.S. island territories and two deadly earthquakes in neighboring Mexico. The calls for help are coming nonstop and the good-hearted are still giving to relief efforts. Be careful, though, that you don't fall for fake charities. (Sept. 20, 2017)
- Tax deduction rules for international donations — Disasters are global. If you want to give to a charity based in another country to help victims there, good for you. But don't count on taking a tax deduction for your international gift. (Sept. 27, 2017)
- 5 tips for choosing workplace benefits — October is the start of open enrollment season at most U.S. companies. Here are some things to consider as you pick your employer-provided benefits, many of them with specific tax savings, for the coming year. (Oct. 4, 2017)
- 10 tax extension filing tips — Are you one of the millions of taxpayers who got a six-month extension to file last year's tax return? If so, your time is almost up. Your 1040 must be e-filed or postmarked by Oct. 16; that's a day later this year since Oct. 15 is on Sunday. These 10 last-minute filing tips could help you get the job done and save some tax dollars. (Oct. 11, 2017)
- 5 amended tax return filing tips — If you discover you made a mistake on a tax return, it's a good idea to file an amended one, even if it means your tax bill is a bit bigger. These tips can help you get your 1040X just right. (Oct. 18, 2017)
- 2018 income tax brackets — The 2017 tax year still has two months left, but every fall the Internal Revenue Service announces tax provisions for the next year that are affected by inflation. You can find those changes as blog posts in a 10-part tax inflation series. The first post, which contains links (or will as soon as they're posted) to the other nine, has details on 2018's tax rates and brackets. (Oct. 25, 2017)
- Avoiding estimated tax penalties — Paying estimated taxes is hassle enough, but if you mess up your quarterly amounts, you could face a penalty. Here are some ways to avoid owing the Internal Revenue Service more than what's due on your 1040-ES vouchers. (Nov. 1, 2017)
- Ways to cut your tax bill — Now that it looks like the GOP tax reform plan will take effect in 2018, it's time to look at ways to reduce your 2017 taxes. In addition to the end-of-year tax tips featured in my post for MoneyGeek, also check out some additional November tax moves to make. (Nov. 8, 2017)
- Tracking tax reform 2017 — With House passage on Nov. 16 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress seems to be closer than it's been in 31 years to making major changes to the Internal Revenue Code. But nothing's final until a bill is signed into law. Track the different tax bills and their legislative progress with this collection of tax reform blog posts. (Nov. 16, 2017)
- Do mom and dad need help? — A lot of adult children are seeing their parents for the first time in months (years?) over the Thanksgiving holiday. It's a good time to gauge whether they need some help dealing with financial and other responsibilities. Here are some areas to consider in assessing aging parents' needs. (Nov. 23, 2017)
- 4 tax tips for gig workers — Have you joined the gig economy, at least during the holidays to get a little extra cash for gifts? Then you have some new tax considerations as a self-employed contractor in the sharing economy. These tips will help you legally hold on to more of your side hustle cash and keep the IRS happy, too. (Nov. 29, 2017)
- 10 tax moves to make by Dec. 31 — December's arrival means that it's time to make some year-end tax moves. This year, several traditional tax-saving steps take on new urgency since they could soon be gone under tax reform legislation nearing enactment. (Dec. 6, 2017)