It's the most wonderful time of year! Kidding. It's tax season, people. Though procrastinators will be happy to learn that the deadline to file taxes in 2016 has been pushed to April 18 from the usual April 15 deadline. Why? According to Forbes, the District of Columbia observes another holiday on April 15, Emancipation Day. When Emancipation Day, a local holiday, falls on Tax Day, the deadline to file your taxes gets moved. In fact, in Maine and Massachusetts, two states that celebrate Patriots Day, the deadline to file is pushed back to April 19, according to the same Forbes article. Woo hoo!
If you haven’t yet filed your taxes, you may be slipping into panic mode. There are a few things to remember, though, which can keep your anxiety from getting the better of you. It's Tax Day, but it’s not the apocalypse. People may file their taxes late for a variety of reasons: they cannot get all the documents together in time, they cannot afford the taxes they owe, or they’re daunted by the expected complexity of the filing process. Before you or someone that you may know starts panicking, breathe. For all you last minute Lucys out there, here is everything you need to know about the latest you can file your taxes this year.
1. You Must File By 11:59 P.M. In Your Local Time
Most people are using the handy e-file system, which allows you or your accountant to file electronically, via the internet (duh). No visit to the post office required! However, if you are filing a paper return, you must be sure that the postmark meets the due date, and not one minute after. For more information visit the IRS website.
2. Some Post Offices Offer Extended Hours On Tax Day
How rad can the post office be? In this case, very. According to the United States Postal Service's website, some post offices are staying open extra late to accommodate Tax Day (April 18). You can use the post office locator tool to find a post office with extended hours near you to postmark your return.
3. Make Sure You're Using Enough Postage, So Your Taxes Don't Get Returned To You
For all you folks mailing in your documents, make sure you use enough postage, otherwise your documents will be returned to you and all the work you put into getting your documents in on time will be for nought. The USPS website recommends that you use double postage for your taxes if your envelope weighs more than one ounce.
4. To Save Time, Divide And Conquer
Now that the clock is ticking, your first step is to gather all your pertinent documents. "When you sit down to file your taxes make sure you have all the necessary documents like W-2s, 1099s, receipts for expenses, mortgage interest, and your kids’ social security numbers in front of you," CPA and tax expert for TurboTax, Lisa Greene-Lewis, tells Romper. If you haven't done this yet, drop everything and handle this STAT. You need these documents, like right now.
5. Double Check Your Info, Especially When Battling The Clock
Some people thrive under pressure. Others, not so much. But all you have to do is breathe, and take one thing at a time. Joe Rehm, Enrolled Agent at Tax Defense Network, LLC explains to Romper, "According to the IRS, one of the top mistakes taxpayers make when rushing to meet the tax deadline is gathering incorrect Social Security numbers for their children and spouses. Make sure you have the correct Social Security numbers when you prepare your taxes. Correct Social Security numbers are required to get valuable tax deductions, credits and exemptions." So, get those digits right.
6. If You Know You Need More Time To Do It Right, Request An Extension
Rehm tells Romper, "If you don’t think you’re going to make the deadline, you’ll definitely want to file an extension. The IRS will grant you six additional months to file your return, once you submit Form 4868. Just keep in mind that this extension will permit you only extra time to file; any taxes you owe are still due on April 18." This is something, in my humble opinion, to consult an accountant about.
7. Mobile Apps Can Help You Meet The Deadline
Well of course there's an app for getting your taxes in on time. In fact, even the IRS has one. CNN reported on the best apps for filing your taxes which might help tech-savvy last minute types get their taxes in by the deadline.
If like me, you had no idea that Tax Day had been extended this year (until I researched this article), just sit back and think about how darn organized you are. Otherwise, get crackin'; you got this.