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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.