- Days left

Nine Stress-Relieving Tax Tips for Procrastinators

Tax stress extensionsIf you're one of the thousands of taxpayers who find themselves rushing around to file their federal income tax returns at the last minute, take heart. Following are nine tips to help ease your tax stress this season:1. File an Extension

If you think you'll need more time to prepare your federal income tax return this year, don't hesitate to request an extension. The IRS will grant an automatic six-month extension so long as you make the request by the due date of the return. This should give you plenty of time to pull together the rest of your documents and prepare your return. Remember, however, that an extension is an extension of the time to file, not the time to pay. You may need to make a payment with your extension in order to avoid an underpayment penalty.

2. Do a Little Bit at a Time

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, break up the task in smaller chunks. With a few days left, spend one day organizing your tax documents and make a note of any tax forms you might be missing. Spend a second day entering data in your tax software package or visiting your tax pro, but give yourself time to review your return. Review the return separately; wait at least a day if you can. It's easy to see what you want to see when you've been staring at the same numbers all day. Take a breath and put your return away and look it later with fresh eyes.

3. Take Advantage of Free Help

If you're having difficulty figuring out your tax return, consider asking for help. You may not even have to pay if you qualify for free tax assistance. Among the options for free help are free software packages and walk-in taxpayers assistance centers.

4. Keep the IRS Phone Number Handy

If you have last-minute tax questions, get the answer directly from the source: the IRS. Call (800) 829-1040 to talk with a tax representative. Remember, however, that many other taxpayers are likely trying to reach the IRS, too, so be patient and allow extra time.

5. Use a Good Software Package

I've met very few folks who like to do their own tax returns by hand. Since running the numbers (and figuring out those IRS worksheets) by hand can be difficult, consider using a tax software package. Many tax software packages use an interview style format to walk you through situations that might apply to you. Even better, most packages will calculate your tax or refund due.

6. Hire a Tax Pro

You can offload a lot of your tax worries by hiring a tax professional to assist you with your tax return. However, keep in mind that many tax professionals book appointments weeks in advance so don't expect to show up on April 18 and have your return prepared timely. Show up as early as you can manage and be prepared to be advised that an extension might be your best option.

7. Figure Out How to Get Your Return to the IRS

The rules for delivering your tax return to the IRS are quite specific -- pay attention to the requirements for timely delivery. If you plan to use a private delivery service, check in advance for the location of drop boxes and pick-up times. Similarly, you can search the USPS website for information about mailboxes, pick-up times for mail and post office hours at a site near you -- even better, plan ahead and have postage on hand so you won't have to wait in line on Tax Day.

8. Enjoy the Extra Few Days

Remember that you have a few more days than usual to get your return in to the IRS. Taxpayers have until April 18 to file their returns this year.

9. Try Out the Tax Freebies

When all is said and done, treat yourself. Each year, a number of major and local retailers offer freebies on Tax Day. Check back with WalletPop for details as Tax Day approaches.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

How to Buy a Car

How to get the best deal and buy a car with confidence.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum