Fix the tax code, not just the tax-filing process
Happy Tax Day, take 2, for Maine & Massachusetts filers

3 tax tasks to take care of on Tax Day

Finally! Tax Day 2016 has arrived.

April 18

Here are three things to do to make sure you and the Internal Revenue Service are happy today.

Don't worry. You don't have to do all of them!

1. File your 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ)
If you can finish your taxes -- and do them correctly, not making mistakes or missing out on some tax breaks -- then get your return on its way to the IRS.

If you're e-filing, you can hit the send button by midnight your local time, although I don't recommend waiting that late in case you have technical problems.

If you snail mail your return or send it by FedEx, UPS or DHL, get your paper to the private delivery service or U.S. Post Office in time to have it marked as sent today. The IRS considers timely mailed returns as being filed on time.

2. Get an extension to file
If you just can't get your return to the IRS today, don't. Instead, file Form 4868 to get an extension.

It's better to get more time, specifically six months, to fill out your Form 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ; and yes even some folks filing out the easiest form run into tax deadline trouble) than to send in an incomplete or wrong return.

Remember, however, that an extension to file is just that -- more time to file your forms. You still must pay by today any tax that's due for the 2015 tax year.

3. Check out what else is due April 18
Tax Day is the due date for more than just your annual tax return.

One biggie today is that it's also the last day to contribute to an IRA, traditional or Roth, and have that money count toward the 2015 tax year. If you're putting money into a traditional IRA, you might be able to deduct all or part of that contribution on your 2015 return.

Another important tax move is for folks who make estimated tax payments. The April filing deadline is the due date for the first of those four payments for the current tax year.

Tax Day also is the deadline to make prior year contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA).

And if you must file a state income tax return, today probably is the deadline for that, too.

Plenty of time: Don't panic. You still have plenty of time to do all or some of today's tax tasks. 

Regardless of whether you're filing today or putting it off for a few more months, check the Daily Tax Tips for help.

You can find them in the end-of-week tax tip roundups, as well as on  the special monthly blog page collections of tips for/from January, February, March and April.

And when you're done with whatever tax tasks you complete, take a break. You deserve it!

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