Tax Day is just a few weeks away, but you still have a little time left to get your return filed to Uncle Sam. Some people say they work best under pressure and choose to procrastinate; don’t ignore, avoid, or think you'll get back to it later. The IRS can come back to bite procrastinators in two ways: with a failure-to-file penalty and a failure-to-pay penalty.
By failing to file your taxes, you're putting off the inevitable and probably going to make things harder for yourself overall by exposing yourself too possible penalties and interest. If you've been putting off filing your tax return, here are a few things you need to know to get started:
Know the tax filing deadline
The deadline to file individual tax returns for the year 2017 (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ), and to pay any taxes that you may owe, is April 17. This is also the last day to make a contribution to traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Health Savings Account, SEP-IRA, or solo 401(k) for the 2017 tax year.
Make sure you have all necessary documents
By now you should have received all necessary documents; statements from employers, banks, stockbrokers, other institutions that were involved in your finances last year, and 1095 form regarding your healthcare coverage. Haven’t received the documents, lost them? Contact the employer immediately to get a new one sent to you.
File your return electronically
If you were planning to fill out a paper tax return this year, think again. Filing your return electronically, with the help of a Tax Pro, is the smartest way to go. Plus, if you're due a refund this year, you'll get it faster if you file electronically and you can check on your refund status within 24 hours. File on paper, and you could easily wait a month just to find out where your refund stands.
Missing the deadline won't just subject you to a late-filing penalty, but will also needlessly drag out the already-stressful process of filing a return in the first place. At the end of the day, you're better off filing your tax return before the deadline. Even if you owe money to the IRS, you can ask for an installment agreement when you file, which may allow you to pay your tax debt over six years.
Have questions or need additional assistance to make filing a reality before Tax Day? Our Tax Pros are ready and waiting in nearly 6,000 locations to do the work so you don’t have to!