It's here! Uncle Sam's favorite month, no April fooling, since it's the home to the Internal Revenue Service's annual mid-month filing deadline.
This year we get a few extra days, until April 18, thanks to the relatively unknown Emancipation Day federal holiday falling on April 15. Since that's on a Friday this year, it pushes the due date for our 2015 Form 1040s and any owed tax money to the following Monday.
The millions of us who put off filing -- or asking for an extension to file -- until the very last minute are very grateful for those three extra days. They give us more time to gather all our filing data, make sure we haven't missed any possible tax breaks and contribute to our retirement accounts, be they traditional or Roth IRAs or, if you're self-employed like me, a SEP or other similar account.
Actually, those retirement tips were offered last week while we still were in March. But no worries. There still are plenty of tax tips to get us through April 18.
Let's get started!
- Don't make these 5 foolish tax mistakes -- Don't be an April Tax Fool. Here are some tax errors you should avoid as the IRS deadline nears, and really any month. (April 1, 2016)
- Take tax care with your 1040 -- It's two weeks until our 2015 tax returns are due. As you wrap up your annual 1040 task, make sure you don't make any common filing mistakes or miss out on any possible tax breaks. (April 4, 2016)
- The many capital gains tax rates -- If you've been a patient investor, Uncle Sam gives you a break at tax time. Most investors are familiar with the 15 percent long-term capital gains rate, but there are many more. Wealthier folks pay 20 percent and those at the other end of the earnings scale can sell assets and owe no tax. Here's more on those three rates and a couple of special capital gains rates in-between. (April 5, 2016)
- Don't tempt the tax auditor -- Few taxpayers are audited nowadays, but your chances increase if your return tempts the tax auditor. Be especially careful about waving audit red flags. And remember, the burden of proof in an IRS examination is always on you to show your claims are legitimate. (April 6, 2016)
- Tax deductions for nonitemizers -- If you don't itemize, don't worry. There are still plenty of tax breaks, known as above-the-line deductions, that you can claim directly on Form 1040 (and a few on the 1040A, too). (April 7, 2016)
- Educators' deduction now permanent -- Teachers and certain other school employees who spend their own money for classroom projects can claim some of those costs without having to itemize. Even better, this deduction is now permanent and indexed for inflation. (April 8, 2016)
- Don't dare deduct these expenses! -- Taxpayers are always searching for every last penny to write off at tax-filing time. Here are some expenses that are close, but not deductible. Try to claim them, and you'll hear from an IRS auditor. (April 11, 2016)
- Alternative Minimum Tax alert -- The only thing worse than doing your taxes is doing them twice and owing Uncle Sam more. This happens to some taxpayers who, because of legitimate tax breaks they claim to lower their tax bills, end up owing the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT. Find out if you're in danger of being hit by this parallel tax system. (April 12, 2016)
- Private mortgage insurance still deductible -- If you don't make a large enough down payment when you buy your house, your lender could require you buy private mortgage insurance, or PMI. This is coverage that you, the home buyer, pay for, but it protects your lender in case you default on your loan. But at least through the 2016 tax year, some PMI payers can deduct those payments on Schedule A. (April 13, 2016)
- 6 tax e-payment options -- If you don't want to mail the IRS a check, Uncle Sam offers six ways to electronically pay your tax bill. You can use a credit card, debit card, the Direct Pay option, electronic funds withdrawal (EFW), Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) and, new in 2016, by cash at some 7-Eleven stores. (April 14, 2016)
- Ways to pay a big IRS bill -- If you discover you owe Uncle Sam more money than you can get your hands on in one fell swoop, then what? Don't worry. The Internal Revenue Service (and others) offer some alternative payment options. (April 15, 2016)
- Tax Day last-minute filing tips -- Tax Day 2016 is finally here. It's time to file something, either your tax return or an extension to file. Either way, be sure to pay any tax you owe, or at least as much as you can. (April 18, 2016)
To ensure that your filing is complete and correct, feel free to check out the Daily Tax Tips posted during the first three months of the 2016 filing season.
And don't worry about the tip parade ending. The Weekly Tax Tips for 2016 will start on Wednesday, April 20.
If you just can't get enough tax tips, you also can check out Don't Mess With Taxes' continually expanding collection of year-round tax tips and money moves.