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Tax-filing tips for the last weekend before Tax Day

Yay weekend in scrabble tiles_sincerely-media-VjBL5PvEkbM-unsplash
Still have tax filing to complete on this last weekend before Tax Day, Tuesday, April 18? The following tips could help you salvage at least some of the coming Saturday, Sunday and, this year, Monday. (Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash)

Do you have big weekend plans? Or are you going to be working on your 2022 tax return?

Here are some tips on this final weekend — plus Monday's extra 24 hours because of Emancipation Day — to help you complete that Form 1040, maybe with enough time to still do what you really want on your days off.

Basically, you've got three options —

  1. Panic,
  2. Get organized now, or
  3. Ask the IRS for more time.

Your choice depends upon exactly where you are right now in the filing process. Of course, panic could be a viable option at any time during tax season, especially if we discover we owe Uncle Sam. But that's another story.

Getting started: If you're just getting started, depending on your tax circumstances, you could have a lot or little left to do over the next few days.

A good first step is to check out this list of documents you might need to file, as well as answer these filing prep questions.

Your answers could give you a good idea of what you need to do next.

If you find you are missing documents, or an answer about your tax circumstances is muddy, stop. You need to jump immediately to step #3 and request a filing extension. More on this a little later in this post.

Mostly done: If, however, your tax situation is relatively simple or you've already filled in most of your Form 1040's lines, then it's time to double down.

Your focus here is making sure you don't short yourself when it comes to tax savings.

Lots of filers miss these 10 often-overlooked tax breaks. There are even more tax saving possibilities in the above-the-line deductions that can be claimed, if you qualify, regardless of whether you itemize or use the standard deduction.

And, of course, you definitely want to make sure your tax return is correct. There are few things as simultaneously terrifying and irritating as getting an Internal Revenue Service notice telling you that the tax collector has found an error.

Much of this IRS correspondence is prompted by 10 common tax filing mistakes. Check out that list and don't make any of them.

More tax tips: Long-time readers of the ol' blog have already figured out that the links in this post have been culled from previously posted Filing Season Tax Tips. These tax tidbits are featured in the upper right corner of this page. After their day in the tax blog sun, they then go into their own special monthly collections.

You can review the full tax tips compilations at those pages: January, February, March, and April. (Preview: the tips will keep coming throughout the year for folks who get/got a filing extension, and all of us looking for moves to lower our 2023 tax bills.)

You also might want to check out the 2023 tax forms page. It's a collection of posts that take a closer look at some of the most commonly used IRS forms, just in case you find you need to fill out one or more of them along with your 1040.

Get six more months: Of course, if you're feeling overwhelmed right about now or later this weekend or on Tax Day, April 18, itself, then don't worry about your return.

Instead, get six more months to finish your tax return by filing Form 4868, also known as the tax procrastinator's best friend. And yes, tax software will help you file your extension electronically.

To be clear, I'm not using procrastinator as a pejorative term. There are many good reasons to delay filing, like discovering you're missing some of the tax documents noted earlier in this post.

Plus, it's always the better move to file your return later — with the IRS' OK, of course — than to send in hastily prepared one that's riddled with errors.

The automatic extension granted by filing Form 4868 will give you until Oct. 16 to file your taxes. In case you're wondering, that's a day later this year than the normal 10/15 deadline, since the 15th is on Sunday. 

Remember though, you must pay any due tax with your extension request. Send that amount, or a good estimate of it, when you send in your Form 4868 by April 18. Any amount you don't pay will result in added penalties and interest charges.

If you can't come up with the cash right now, pay as much as you can and then look into other payment options, such as an installment tax payment agreement.

Here's hoping you make good progress with your taxes as Tax Day nears, whichever path you take. Now, I'll let you get back to work on that 1040 so you can be done with it, one way or another, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Taxes and cats: Need a break from your 1040? Check out the video (yes, it is the internet, so it includes a cat) that's on my tax day tips post at my more light-hearted tumblr blog Tumbling Taxes.







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