Ah, mid-April, when the tulips are striving heavenward and the birds are singing and the IRS is waiting. Welcome to the last few nerve-wracking days before Tax Day.
Marian Jacobs*, a tax advisor with H & R Block in Orland Park, Illinois offered this advice for those who haven’t filed their taxes yet:
“Patience!” said Jacobs. ”And make your appointment as quickly as you can.”
If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, take a deep breath and continue reading.
1) Don’t Panic.
This year, the IRS has extended the federal tax deadline from April 15th to midnight on April 18th.
Some states have due dates for state returns even later:
Hawaii: April 20
Maine and Massachusetts: April 19
Delaware and Iowa: April 30
Virginia: May 2
2) Gather Your Documents.
Missing documents, Jacobs said, are the most common delay. Even paid tax professionals can’t work an IRS miracle without the proper documents.
You'll need W-2s from your employer, savings and investment documents, as well as receipts for any charitable donations you’ve made.
For a complete list, see this Tax Prep List.
3) Get your tax forms.
This years — and last year’s, Dear Procrastinator—are available at IRS.gov. Most post offices and many libraries also carry them.
4) Don’t miss these commonly forgotten deductions:
Child Care - You’ll need the identifying number for your provider.
Investment Expenses - If you have sold stock, have the basis. The basis is the purchase price plus commissions or other expenses.
Charitable Donations - Have receipts from donated goods, and copies of checks for cash donations.
Work-related Expenses - These are any not paid or reimbursed by your employer.