It's Tax Day. For real. October 15.
The absolutely final day to get your 1040 (and other forms, schedules, and attachments) to the Internal Revenue Service or face potential penalties for late filing. You also could be hit with late payment charges if you didn't pay enough when you got your extension to file, not extension to pay, months ago.
I've been here. Not this year, thankfully, but in the past.
It's nerve wracking. But you still have time. So take a breath and let's get this done.
Hurry up if you're going old school: If you insist on sending in your tax return the old-fashioned way, with hand-filled paper forms you snail mail, then you need to get to it. The envelope must be postmarked today.
And unlike pre-digital days when U.S. Postal Service branches stayed open late to collect tax mailings as close to the midnight deadline as possible, most branches close nowadays at their regular times.
Even getting there before the post office closes might not be enough. The latest collection could be well before then. Call your local branch to find out when that is so you can get your paper forms there in time.
File electronically: The printing and attaching and checking with post offices is why most folks file electronically. Your return is marked as on time if you hit enter before the stroke of midnight.
But don't wait that long. You know how cranky computers can be. You don't want to be almost finished and have your machine decide it's done for the day. Or night.
Or your internet service could go down. Or even the IRS could encounter a glitch. It's happened. On Tax Day 2018.
So log on early and get to work. And be sure to check out Free File site at IRS.gov. It's still operational until midnight Eastern Standard Time tonight.
You should be able to use one of the nine tax software companies participating this year. The key requirement for all is that your adjusted gross income be $72,000 or less, regardless of your filing status.
Make sure you don't miss anything: Most tax software programs walk you through the filing process, asking questions about your family and financial circumstances and directing you to tax credit and deductions.
However, it doesn't hurt to know what to expect. These 6 tax filing Q&A for procrastinators staring down Oct. 15 provide an overview for your very last-minute filing.
That post also has tips on often overlooked deductions, including several that you can use even if you don't itemize, as well as some common filing mistakes to avoid in your hurry to get the job done.
True, time is ticking away. Just check the countdown clock over there in the right column. But if you focus, you can beat it. Just in time for the weekend.
You also might find these items of interest:
- If you owe, here's how to pay Uncle Sam
- Oct. 15 also the deadline for foreign account FBAR filings
- Many state tax departments offer free e-filing of their returns