It’s crunch time for procrastinators as the U.S. tax deadline of April 17 (Tax Day 2018) is fast approaching, leaving not much time to start work on one’s taxes for 2017. Fortunately, with these tax tips, you should be able to handle your last-minute tax situation.
Get a Tax Extension
U.S. tax returns are due on April 17 this year; however, the IRS offers an automatic extension to October 15 to file your taxes.
If you need more time to hunt down additional paperwork, you will need to file Form 4868 Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return with the IRS to obtain the extension. While an extension will give you more time, you will still need to pay any taxes owed by April 17. If you work with a CPA or preparer, be sure to ask him or her to file that extension. These professionals are not allowed to ask the IRS for more time unless you request it or give them permission to do so.
If you reside outside the United States, you automatically get an extra two month extension to June 15. Although there are no penalties for paying later, you will be charged interest on any overdue taxes not paid in April. Taxpayers outside the U.S. may also request additional time to file until October 15 by filing the Form 4868 by June 15.
Assemble your Documents
To assist you in assembling your documents, you can use your completed return from last year as a guide for the paperwork you will need, the deductions you took and your sources of income.
A tax organizer can also help you pull your necessary forms together. You can get an organizer from your tax preparer or find one online. From this, you can then create a checklist to make sure you don’t forget to report items such as Social Security, income from investments or self-employed business income.
Check for Tax Deductions
By rushing through your return, you may miss some deductions and that can cost you money.
If you are self-employed, be sure to claim your business expenses including your home office. Did you pay student loan interest, property taxes, tax preparation fees, etc.? Did you make noncash contributions to a charity? Or contribute to a retirement account?
Use a Tax Software Program
If you have only a few deductions, few sources of income, and limited investments, tax preparation software should be able to handle your taxes.
There are many software programs available that help you calculate your income tax and electronically file your return. If you choose to use a program, it may be beneficial to use the same program every year as most software allows you to carry forward your data. If you have a change in your tax situation due to marriage, divorce or separation, new baby, etc. be sure that you change your data within the program.
Tax software can be a big help to those who are challenged with things like addition and multiplication, but at the end of the day, you are still only as good as the information you input. And when you are finished, be sure to save or print a copy.
Seek Professional Help
Although software is readily available, at times, software may miss deductions. If you are running a small business, and have multiple sources of income, or own investments or rental property, you may have a situation that is complicated enough to give reason to seek professional help.
The less familiar you are with taxes, the more questions a tax preparer will have to ask about your situation to help you find applicable deductions. In addition, a professional tax preparer will be able to advise you on all the latest tax changes.
AG TAX LLP CAN HELP
If you have any other tax-related queries, and/or need assistance with tax planning/filing please contact AG Tax. Our tax professionals are highly-experienced with U.S. and Canadian tax laws and can provide you the right guidance to handle your tax situation.
Aylett Grant Tax LLP is a full service accounting firm with a dedicated team of experts, who are highly-qualified and experienced in handling situations related to U.S., Canada and other international tax laws.
We can assist with:
- Canadian Personal and corporate tax returns
- Cross Border Taxation and Business Planning
- Personal and Corporate Taxation
- Disclosure of Foreign Assets and other information filings
- Retirement planning
- Estate Planning, Inheritance tax advice
To obtain a quote or to arrange for a consultation to discuss your tax related queries, please contact us at:
- 604-538-8735 (Greater Vancouver Area, BC)
- 780-702-2732 (Greater Edmonton Area, AB)
Disclaimer: The information in this publication is accurate as of the time of its publication. AG Tax assumes no responsibility for changes to tax legislation subsequent to the publication of this document. The information provided is for general information purposes only and should not be acted upon without seeking professional advice. If you would like to engage our services, please contact our staff and obtain authorization to send our firm confidential information. A client relationship is not created by the transmission of information. A client relationship is only formed with our firm when a scope and engagement letter signed by the firm and the potential client detailing the terms of engagement is present.