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Tax Tips

The deadline’s extended to April 17. But are you prepared to e-file your federal return?

You may think you work well under pressure, but that’s not how you want to do your taxes.

Here are some ways to ease the pressure from this year’s deadline—extended by 2 days to April 17:

E-file With Ease
Taxpayers earning less than $57,000 may receive free IRS software to help prepare and file a return electronically. Some states also provide similar software for state returns. If you don’t qualify for free software and have a fairly straightforward return, consider the variety of low-cost e-file software on the market.

Extensions Are Available
Don’t let the inability to pay stop you from filing on time. File your tax return and talk to the IRS about a possible payment plan. If you need more time to file, you may request a six-month extension from the IRS.

Plan for Next Year
Even if you file on deadline this year, you can take steps to streamline filing next year—and possibly reduce next year’s tax bill.

For example:

  • Take advantage of deductions. Bundle as many deductions as you can into the current year and investigate transferring income to next year.

  • Watch deduction and credit deadlines. If you own a home or teach, for example, you may be able to take advantage of short-term deductions—for energy-saving home renovations and out-of-pocket spending on classroom supplies, respectively. If so, keep track of when the deductions lapse so you don’t miss out on the savings.

  • Convert your retirement account to a Roth IRA. If you won’t need your retirement money in the short-term, consider moving it into a Roth IRA. The income limits were removed on conversions to Roth IRAs in 2010.
     
  • Donate to charity. You’ll support a worthy cause while increasing your deductions, if you have enough to make itemizing worthwhile.

     

Posted 1:50 PM  View Comments

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