LATINA's Last Minute Tax Tips

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Procrastinators beware: Tax Day is right around the corner—April 17 to be exact—so it’s time to take a deep breath and complete your returns. Here are some great last-minute tax tips from Annabella Rodriguez, office manager of H&R Block’s (hrblock.com) Weston, Florida office.

Homebuyers

Take into consideration life changes. You still qualify for an $8,000 homebuyer tax credit if you bought a first-time home before July 1, 2011 and there was a binding contract before April 30. You’ll need to mail the return, as you have to attach closing documents.

Education

We have the American Opportunity credit for higher education. You can get up to $2,500 in credit. We also still have the tuitions and fees deduction.

Parents

Taxpayers that became parents mid-year and close to end of last year can claim that dependency for the full year. It doesn’t matter that the baby was born in December.

Unemployment

Remember that unemployment is taxable and must be included on the return. You can also include job search expenses if you’re unemployed. That could include resume-printing, long distance phone calls, mileage to go to interviews.

Extensions

If a taxpayer doesn’t have time, it’s possible to do an extension. That is not for payment, but for paperwork. In order to avoid penalty, they need to send at least 90% of what they owed last year. They get six months, starting April 17, to complete the paper work. Penalties for not filing and not making the payments can be 4.5% per month on any unpaid balance. 

Next Year

The best thing you can do in order to have a smooth tax preparation is save receipts and make notes of anything that is tax-related. Let a professional say ‘this works, this doesn’t work.’ I always tell my clients to grab a folder, a big envelope and fill it with everything that is tax related.

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About this author

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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