California's cigarette tax jumped $2 on April 1, 2017
Private tax debt collection begins again this week
Be on guard against crooks using the effort as a tax scam hook

April brings spring showers and tax moves to make now!

Wait. It's April, right? And isn't it March that has the proverbial lion-like entrance?

Well, April apparently is trying to steal some monthly arrival literal thunder. Over the first weekend of this new month, violent storms raked much of Texas and are still marching east.

YjFLg7W Little April showers on spider web GIF by SomethingTraLaLa via Giphy

Yes, I know spring heralds thunderstorm season, which is often dangerous and deadly like this weekend. But I also know I speak for a lot of us who were hoping simply for some more soothing April showers.

So instead of just worrying about filing our taxes this month, too many of us also are recovering from the storms' damage.

Dealing with disaster via your taxes: The tax code can help victims of natural disasters. As today's Daily Tax Tip notes, you can claim casualty losses on your tax return.

In cases of major disasters, you're even able to claim the losses sooner, potentially allowing you to get a much needed tax refund to help pay for storm repairs.

If you were spared major damage, thank goodness. But disasters can happen any time. The ol' blog's special Storm Warnings disaster resources page can help you get prepared for whatever catastrophe might be on the horizon.

Once you're through with your disaster assessment, it's time to turn our April focus to this month's usual tax tasks.

File your annual return: First off, it's filing time. The deadline is April 18 again this year, so we have a few more days to finish our 1040s.

If you haven't even started yet, this checklist can help you get the tax filing process going. It highlights the necessary documents you'll need to fill out the forms, as well as notes some key filing questions you need to answer to ensure you don't overlook any tax breaks.

Speaking of tax breaks, there are those we sometimes forget to claim, or as I like to call them tax sins of omission, as well as those mistakes we make, or as I like to call them tax sins of commission. Don't make either or it could cost you.

File your estimated taxes: Some of us also have extra filing duties each April. The annual tax return due date also is the deadline for your first estimated tax payment of this year.

If you have earnings that aren't subject to withholding, make sure you make this 1040-ES payment by April 18. Miss it and you could face an estimated tax underpayment penalty and interest charges.

File your 2013 return: Another key tax task to take care of by this April 18 is filing a 2013 tax return if that slipped your mind three years ago.

Around a million folks didn't send the Internal Revenue Service that year's return in 2014.

The oversight meant they didn't get federal tax refund money they were due back then.

If they don't file that old return by this year's filing deadline, Uncle Sam gets to keep their money, which in total comes to more than $1 billion. Forever. For real.

Corporate taxes, too: Business taxpayers also need to be alert this month. There are new tax deadlines for corporate filers.

Most notably, Form 1120 filed by C corporations is now due April 18, with extensions granted until Sept. 15 for tax years through 2025.

April_tax_moves_160More tax tasks: Those are just a few tax things to think about as we head toward April's tax-filing finish line.

You can find more April Tax Moves over in the ol' blog's right column. Just scroll down a bit; the list starts under the digital clock counting down the rapid approach of tax day 2017.

You also can check out all of the Daily Tax Tips, regardless of whether you're looking for 2016 filing suggestions or ideas on how to reduce your 2017 tax bill. They are collected on their own monthly tax pages, links to which also are found in the ol' blog's right column, 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 here — I'll probably be there, too, filling out my filing extension on April 18 — and no worries. The tax tidbits will keep coming all the way through this month's due date.

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