The deadline for filing and submitting your 2016 tax returns is April 18th, 2017, rather than the regular annual date of April 15th. We only get those three days after taxes were stalled until January 23rd of this year. It leaves precious little time to trim and prune your tax bill.
The good news is that there are a few steps you can take now to help organize your affairs as to keep the damage to a minimum.
With those few extra days to file, take a second look at your income and deductions. Simple errors can cause unwanted attention from the IRS, or even worse, you may miss deductions and pay more tax than you owe simply due to rushing through your records and forms.
So, for instance, if you itemize deductions, then you need to maximize every possible deduction available. If you have over 2% of your AGI, remember to include your tax preparation fees on the return in which you pay them and the investment fees, custodial fees, trust administration fees, and other expenses you paid for managing your investment that produces taxable income accounts as commonly overlooked deductions.
Do you have a rental property?
Did you buy or invest in a rental property in 2016? If so, don’t forget to take depreciation expense and any other expenses you may be entitled to. If you typically do your own return, this could definitely be the year to hire a CPA or other professional tax preparer to be sure you don’t miss anything related to the new rental property.
Go talk to your tax guy
As always, it’s usually a good idea to with your tax preparer — even if they are crazed this time of year — about tax-trimming tactics. You especially want to avoid whatever penalties you might face for making easily avoided mistakes with your tax return.
Good accountants make the entire process go smoothly while ensuring that you get the highest refund possible, but they also help you understand the tax code, and that code is not an easy one to understand.
Don’t call your tax preparer at the last minute. The last thing he or she needs is a call at 8 a.m. on April 18th saying ‘I’m bringing my stuff in and need to get my return filed today,’ Call now and set an appointment as soon as their schedule allows to avoid a last-minute crisis.