Uncle Sam's favorite month has arrived.
By the middle of every April every year, the Internal Revenue Service has heard from most U.S. taxpayers. Sure, it's not friendly hellos. Millions of us are contacting him to get refunds. Some of us, though, are sending him a few more dollars
Either way, Uncle Sam is thrilled.
Not so thrilled are those of us who put off our annual tax task.
A few more days: This year, we get a few extra days to fulfill our tax responsibilities.
Since Emancipation Day, a federal holiday in Washington, D.C., falls on Friday, April 15, it pushes the 2016 filing due date to the next Monday, April 18.
As of today, that gives us two weeks to find ways to lower our ultimate 2015 tax bill.
Yes, I know I should have posted these tips on April 1, but I wanted to make sure y'all didn't think they were some April Fools' Day joke.
OK, the truth is that April 1 was crazy busy. So was my weekend. But without further ado, here are some April Tax Moves to help all my fellow filing procrastinators put finishing touches on Form 1040.
Filling out your 1040: Sure, you're using tax software that will walk you through your taxes, but you can be prepared for the computer generated questions by:
- knowing your proper filing status,
- claiming all your legitimate dependents,
- tallying all your income, from W-2s, 1099s and even the payments that didn't generate tax forms, and
- adding (and subtracting) all your capital gains and (losses).
April 18's many deadlines: While filing your return for last year's taxes is paramount, April 18 also is the due date for other tax tasks.
If you pay estimated taxes to cover income that's not subject to withholding, your first payment is due on April 18, too. It covers your earning from Jan. 1 through March 30.
Want to add to or open an IRA, traditional or Roth, for the 2015 tax year. You must do so by April 18.
It's also the final day to max out your 2015 contributions to your health savings account (HSA). Note that an HSA as part of a high deductible health plan can help you meet your insurance requirements under the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
Did you forget -- yeah, forget; let's go with that word -- to file your 2012 return back in April 2013? If so and you were due a refund three years ago, you must get that old form to the IRS by this year's April 18 filing deadline or forever forfeit that money.
And if you must file a state tax return, check that due date. Most states that collect individual income taxes follow the federal filing calendar, meaning those forms must be to your state tax department by April 18.
You also can check out all of the Daily Tax Tips, regardless of whether you're looking for 2015 filing suggestions or ideas on how to reduce your 2016 tax bill. They are collected on their own monthly tax pages, links to which also are found in the ol' blog's right column, this time near the top of the page underneath the day's featured tip.
And if you plan to push things until the ultimate deadline, no judging (I'll probably be there, too, filling out Form 4868 for my filing extension) and no worries. The tax tidbits will keep coming all the way through April 18.