Get ready for a roaring good tax filing time!
Make way for March, the last full month of the annual tax filing season.
Traditionally, the third month of the year is said to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.
But savvy taxpayers know they need to be in full beast mode for all of March's 31 days.
Whether you're finishing or (like me) just getting started or still just thinking about doing your taxes, this months filing season tips can help.
Tax planning, too: For all y'all who've already done your annual tax duty, we salute you…with maybe a little jealousy-inspired curing under our breath.
You industrious taxpayers can take more of a lamb approach, calmly exploring ways this month to make next year's filing season even easier and less costly.
Regardless of whether you're a tax lion or lamb, the March's pieces of tax advice, like January's and February's before them, will be highlighted in the upper right corner of the ol' blog.
After their time in the spotlight, the March tips then will be permanently ensconced on this page.
So with an appropriate roar, let's get to them!
- Unpaid tax bills could affect passports — If you're planning to travel internationally, make sure you've paid your taxes. A seriously delinquent tax debt could get your passport pulled. (March 1, 2019)
- Take care of your state taxes, too — Most U.S. taxpayers have a double dose of tax duties every year. In addition to their federal Form 1040, they also must file state, and sometimes local, taxes. Here's how to contact your state tax office for the full scoop on taxes in your jurisdiction. (March 2, 2019)
- Getting tax help after a natural disaster — Natural disasters, ranging from tornadoes to hurricanes to floods to blizzards, can be devastating. But in some cases, you might be able to get tax help in recovering from the damages by claiming the losses on your taxes. (March 4, 2019)
- Tax help for taking care of aging parents — We're living longer. So are our parents, meaning many adult children eventually find their parent/child roles reverse and they must enter into a more formalized care taking situation. In these cases, the Internal Revenue Code might be able to provide you some tax help. (March 6, 2019)
- Debt offsets can cut into tax refunds — Smaller than expected refunds have gotten a lot of attention this filing season, but not all are related to tax law changes. Sometimes federal refunds are reduced — or offset in the official lingo — to pay other taxpayer overdue debts. (March 7, 2019)
- What do you want from tax software? — You've finally decided to turn to tax software to do your taxes. The good news is that you've got lots of choices. But choose wisely. And before you log in to the wide and wonderful world of electronic taxes, make sure you understand what you want from a tax prep package. These considerations will help you get the most from whichever software product you select. (March 9, 2019)
- Doing your taxes online vs. hiring a tax preparer — One of the biggest decisions taxpayers face each year is how to file their returns. In recent years, more than 80 percent of federal returns were filed with tax software. But most of those computer-prepared and e-filed returns were completed by tax professionals. Why hire a tax pro to do your taxes online when you can use similar software to do the job yourself? Here are four questions to help you decide. (March 12, 2019)
- Rounding tax entries — Doing taxes is all about the numbers. And while the Internal Revenue Service wants us to be accurate, it also allows — even encourages — us to round our tax return mathematical entries. Here are some tips on how to do that so that your filing life is easier and you still keep the tax collector happy. (March 14, 2019)
- Tax breaks that can help cover educational costs — If you or your parents are paying for upcoming semesters, it's time for some educational tax incentives homework. Uncle Sam's various tax-favored credits, deductions, savings options, scholarships and even employer assistance can help pay many school bills. (March 15, 2019)
- Don't miss out on $1.4 billion in unclaimed refunds — Three years ago, more than 1 million taxpayers didn't file tax returns. This oversight has left the U.S. Treasury holding $1.4 billion in unclaimed tax year 2015 refunds. If the owners of the money don't file for it by this April's filing deadline, they'll lose the refunds forever. (March 17, 2019)
- Foreign assets mean more filing tasks — If you have foreign financial accounts you might need to file some added forms, both with your annual Internal Revenue Service return, as well as directly with Treasury. These overseas assets reporting requirements often are blamed for the number of U.S. expatriates, although folks leaving the country has slowed of late. (March 19, 2019)
- Divorce and taxes — Marriage can be challenging. Sometime couples just can't work through their troubles and decide to officially end their marriages. When that happens, among all the other issues, there are tax matters to consider. These six tax situations could come into play if you and your current better half decide to go your separate ways. (March 20, 2019)
- Day camp tax break — Sending your kid to day camp? Hold onto the receipts. Not only do these summer diversions give working parents some peace of mind about who's taking care of their kiddos once school is out, the camps' costs count toward claiming the child and dependent care tax credit. (March 21, 2019)
- Obamacare tax tasks for 2018 returns — The Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare, is now 9 years old and, despite taking some political hits, is still the law. By now, most of us have health care related tax filing under control. But tax reform changes, like eliminating the no-insurance tax penalty starting in 2019, have confused some. Here's the scoop on the Obamacare responsibilities taxpayers face in connection with tax year 2018 tax returns due this April. (March 22, 2019)
- Dirty Dozen tax scams of 2019 — It's that time again, the annual unveiling of the 12 most pervasive tax scams. The 2019 version is essentially a repeat of the 2018 list, with the order of the tax identity theft schemes shifted a tad. But that just means the scams are still working. Check out this list and don't become a victim. (March 24, 2019)
- RMD FAQ — If you saved a lot for retirement in tax-deferred accounts, you could be facing an April 1 deadline to withdraw some of your savings. Here are 10 questions and answers on these required minimum distributions, aka in tax-speak as RMDs. (March 25, 2019)
- Tax tips for lottery millionaires — Admit it. You bought a Powerball ticket. Me, too. If we win — hey, with a $750 million (and growing) jackpot, there's plenty of cash to go around! — here are 5 tax-related things to consider. (March 26, 2019)
- Tax tips for March Madness bettors — March Madness, the sobriquet given the basketball match-ups this month en route to the NCAA men's college basketball championship title, also describes the crazy betting associated with the games. This year, thanks to a Supreme Court, more states are accepting legal wagers on the games. That's good news for the Internal Revenue Service, which should get more info on the winnings, which are taxable income. (March 30, 2019)
But wait, there's more! You can find the previous two month's collected tax wisdom by clicking the links below for the January and February tax tips pages.
And yes, you can click on April, too, but you'll just find a guy telling you to whoa up. We're not there yet. But rest assured, April's tax tips will be added when that month arrives.