Tax filing season is scheduled to start on 1/29/18. Given the current government shutdown, that may or may not happen on time. It is important to know that even though the government was shutdown on 1/20/18, there will be no extension of time to file or pay, except the regular form 4868 Extension to File (which is not an extension to pay).
The biggest challenge I see for my clients in preparing for tax time is making sure they have all the information they need. Here are three ways to get organized for tax season.
Throw it all in an envelope
Every document that you get in the mail that is marked important tax document, stick in a large envelope so that that they are all in one place when you need them. To max out your efficiency, write down what the documents is on the outside of the envelope so you will know at a glance what you have received.
Use last year’s tax return as a guide for this year
Flip through your prior year return and jot down the items that are on it. Wages, interest, dividends, etc. Check the items off as you receive them, either via online or in the mail. Add any new items that you can remember – new job, new baby, new investments, new house? This will help you make sure you are not missing anything that you should be regularly getting and will jog your memory to follow up with those that you haven’t heard from when it is time to file.
Print this checklist
I have created a checklist you can use to help keep track and ensure you all the tax documents you need when it is time to file. Please print or download and use it to help you make tax time less stressful.
A few dates to keep in mind for 2018’s filing for 2017 taxes:
January 29th – filing season scheduled to open
February 27th – the first day refunds that have Earned Income Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit will be issued
March 15th – Pass thru entity due date (Partnerships and S Corporations) If you have investments in publicly traded partnerships it is good to know they they often extend and their reporting documents (Form K-1) will likely not be issued until after the regular filing season.
April 17th – adjusted due date for 2018 because the 15th falls on a Sunday and Monday is a holiday in the District of Columbia
April 17th – Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR), can now be automatically extended when the personal return (Form 1040 is extended).
June 15th – Due date for returns automatically extend due to being out the country
October 15th – Extended due date for returns with a valid filed Form 4868 – Extension of time to file
Military personnel also have an automatic extension of time to file in they are in a designated combat zone during the filing period. You generally have at least 180 days after you leave the designated combat zone/contingency operation to file and pay taxes.
What is the most stressful thing about tax time for you?