Tax Paperwork

(Image via ABC News)

Tax Day, April 15, is one of the most dreaded days of the year. Truly, it’s a fact; April 15 is the most hated day of the year for most American families. The tax code is so convoluted that it takes most Americans 13 hours to sift through receipts, prepare  documents and file their returns. To help you speed up the tax-filing process, HAPARI compiled a list of  last-minute Tax Day Tips including tax write-offs and tidbits of info; from deductions you might have missed to the exact hour taxes must be filed by state, we’ve got quick tips to help this tax season flow a little more smoothly.

And, just remember, dreaded Tax Day will all be over April 16 - at least for another year. Good luck last-minute tax filers!

Tax Tidbits

Couple Looking at their Computer (Image via TaxAct)

Q: When, exactly, are taxes due?

A: To complete your taxes on-time and to avoid a penalty, all taxes must be filed and paid by 11:59 p.m. on April 15. You can file them electronically or have them sent via mail with a postmark before midnight of the 15th. Even if you can’t pay your tax bill in full by the 15th, you should still submit your paperwork by this date to avoid penalty fees. If you submitted for an extension on your taxes, you may have longer to complete them.

Q: Who can file for an extension?

Anyone can file an extension for any reason to give yourself more time to complete your taxes. In most cases, filing for an extension allows you six more months (until October 15) to collect the necessary paperwork and receipts to file your taxes. However, an extension to file is not an extension to pay any taxes due. If you are going to owe the government for your tax filings, you will have to indicate this on your extension form.

Q: Any new forms to file for 2014? A: The biggest challenge for 2014 is complying with the Affordable Care Act. A new form must be completed by those enrolled in health care coverage through the government and/or by anyone who did not have healthcare coverage last year. We recommend working with an experienced tax professional to complete complicated returns.

Person Using a Calculator (Image via Bank Rate)

Tax Deductions

1) Tax Savings for Teachers Because many teachers end up using their own money to buy supplies for their classroom, the IRS allows teachers in K-12 grades to deduct up to $250 for classroom materials. It may not seem like much, but these small deductions help add up to savings on your tax bill/more money for a return.

2) Charitable Gifts Most taxpayers know you’re allowed to deduct donations to charities. However, many don’t know that you’re also allowed to deduct charitable gifts. For example, if you make t-shirts for a charity event, you’re allowed to deduct the cost of the materials needed to produce the t-shirts.

3) Lifetime Learning One of the greatest tax credits the IRS allows is the lifetime learning credit. This allows individuals, regardless of age or enrollment in a higher institution, to deduct up to $2000 towards higher learning that enables an individual to learn new skills or improve skills for job prospects.

Note: The tax ideas in this article are simply suggestions. It’s always advised to seek a professional tax consultant for help with complicated returns, for advice, or to answer any questions you may have.

For more posts like this, check out the HAPARI Blog. We’re like your favorite lifestyle blog but better!

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