The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) opened the 2017 tax filing season by announcing that taxpayers have until April 17 to file their tax returns and pay any tax due. The reason for the extension? April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, and Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls on Monday, April 16, giving taxpayers a two-day reprieve.
But procrastinators take note. You may have two extra days to file your taxes, but don’t wait until the last minute. If you find you have questions, need help or are missing documentation, you could still miss the deadline. Even though your return is not due until April, the IRS says you can make tax time easier by getting an early start. Here are some tips from the IRS website to ensure a smooth tax-filing process.
Tax Tips for Caregivers and Seniors
- Keep an eye out for incoming documentation. Important tax documents should arrive by mail and become available through online accounts around January 31. Be on the lookout for documents regarding pensions, annuities, payroll, etc. Make sure you have 1099-R statements from each bank, mutual fund, or retirement plan, and W-2 and 1099 forms from employers or independent contractor income. Be sure to check with aging loved one regularly to see if they have received their tax documents yet.
- Gather your records. Round up any documents you’ll need when filing your taxes, such as receipts, canceled checks and other forms and records that support income or deductions you’re claiming on your return. Locate receipts for medical expenses, charitable contributions, and any documentation regarding Flexible Spending Accounts.
- Consider filing electronically. For tax year 2016, 92 percent of taxpayers (122 million people) used electronic filing options. The IRS calls efile the “safest, fastest and easiest way to submit individual tax returns.” If you are looking for a speedy refund, efiling may be the way to go. The IRS issues refunds to most electronic filers by direct deposit within 14 days, and some may be issued in as few as 10 days.
- Review, don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush, but mistakes slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double check all the Social Security numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors.
- Don’t panic! If you run into a problem, help is available. Free tax assistance for seniors is available from a number of different organizations. If you are a caregiver who is also in charge of managing a loved one’s finances, check out our Tax Tips for Caregivers.