October is a scary month, and not just because of Halloween. Millions of uber procrastinators face a final mid-month deadline to file their annual tax return.
It's also the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year.
So, in addition to picking out your All Hallows Eve costume and hiding the holiday treats so your family won't eat them all before trick-or-treaters come knocking in a few weeks, you also need to at least consider some end of year tax moves.
On that note, with October's 31 days already on the clock, here are three tax moves to make this month.
1. File your 2022 tax return. Getting more time to properly complete your Form 1040 often is a good tax move. It's much better to file later and correctly, than rush through the process in April and make costly mistakes.
But now you're in the same situation you were in earlier this year. Tax time is running out, quickly.
The deadline is Monday, Oct. 16. Yes, that's a day after the normal Oct. 15 filing extension, which this year is on Sunday, giving you an extra day to finish your filing.
And there's more good news. The Internal Revenue Service's Free File service is open through the extension deadline.
If your adjusted gross income is $73,000 or less, you can use the online no-cost tax preparation and e-filing tool. This year, you can choose from seven tax software companies to help you meet your extended filing obligation.
2. Make sure the Oct. 16 deadline applies to you. Speaking of disasters, Oct. 16 is not the tax deadline for some taxpayers. They get even more time because they are in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated areas.
The box below lists the dates for eight states, along with links for more information, where the IRS has granted disaster-related relief, including later tax due dates.
Oct. 31, 2023, for
Nov. 15, 2023, for
Feb. 15, 2024, for
If you're dealing with a natural disaster, you can find more in
Note, too, that members of the military serving in combat zones can get an extra 180 days from their last day in those dangerous areas to file their tax returns. You can get more information at the IRS web page on combat zone service extended deadlines and IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Guide to Taxes.
3. Get your home ready for cold weather. After this summer's stretch of hottest ever months in Central Texas (and many other parts of the United States), I am definitely ready for some cooler temperatures.
But as the hubby and I learned over the last two unexpected cold snaps, our aging house has lots of leaks. That's why we're investing in new, energy efficient windows.
The good news is that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the Biden Administration's revised economic and tax package, reinstated, revised, and renamed some prior residential energy tax breaks. They could help you cut into your 2023 (and beyond) tax bill.
The savings include tax credits for such things as replacing drafty portals with new energy-efficient windows and doors. If your home winterization needs are more extensive, there's also tax help for new energy-efficient furnace systems.
The now-dubbed Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit is worth up to $1,200 per year for qualifying changes made from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2032. The biggest benefit is the switch to an annual tax credit limit, instead of the small lifetime cap. By planning your home's energy improvements, you can spread out eligible upgrades over the tax break's 10-year life.
This month, before the season changes from autumn's chill to winter's chilblains, is the perfect time to look into tax-saving home improvements. You read more on the renewed-residential energy tax breaks in my earlier posts focused on upgrades to fight heat and cold, as well as simply getting an energy audit to see what your home needs to stay comfortable regardless of what's happening outside
The IRS has more on its Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit web page. Also check out the White House's special CleanEnergy.gov website with more on the Inflation Reduction Act's home energy provisions, and the EnergyStar.gov page with details on Uncle Sam's current federal tax credits and other incentives to save energy.
Other October tax moves: If any of these actions or deadlines apply to you, make them this month. Definitely do so by the appropriate deadline(s).
And if you've sneaked a few miniature Halloween candy bars and are on a sugar high looking for more October Tax Moves, check out the ol' blog's right column. This month's tax tasks list is in its usual place, just under the digital clock counting down to the even closer Oct. 16 extended filing deadline.
Once you get these tax tasks out of the way, then you can use the rest of the month to get ready for the spookiest Halloween celebration ever.
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