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Attention tax procrastinators: You're now just days away from the tax-filing deadline of April 15.
While it probably wasn't the best idea to wait until the very last minute to get your taxes together, there are still some tricks and surprising deductions that can potentially pay off for you.
Here are our Top 10 tips for tax procrastinators:
- You can still get a tax-filing extension. To receive an extension for filing your federal income tax return, you must fill out and file Form 4868 by April 15. Doing so will give you an automatic six-month extension to file -- but keep reading.
- Any taxes owed must still be paid by the deadline. Although you can get an automatic extension to file your taxes, you won't get more time to pay your owed taxes (though other options may be available; see No. 3 below). It's a good idea to quickly estimate how much you owe and if you overpay, the IRS will refund you that amount. If you don't pay at all, you'll get charged interest.
- Low on funds? Try an installment plan. If you're unable to pay the IRS in one lump sum, you might be able to get an installment plan under certain conditions.
- Unemployment is not an excuse. Even if you're currently unemployed, you still have to file your taxes. If you worked only a week out of the entire year, you'll still have to file. The same goes for people who collect unemployment benefits.
- Your income will determine if you have to file. People who made under a certain amount of money in the previous year may not have to file taxes. For example, single adults under the age of 65 who earned less than $9,750 may be off the hook.
- Claiming a dependent gets a tax exemption. For divorced couples, the custodial parent of the children will get to claim the child as a dependent, which gets them a tax exemption.
- Weight loss programs may be tax deductible. If your doctor says that you need to lose weight, then the weight loss or personal training program you enrolled in could be a health care deduction.
- Maximize your business-expense deductions. Business owners may be surprised to learn they can deduct common workplace perks from their taxes, perhaps even coffee and donuts. Also, there's now a "simplified" way to calculate a home office tax deduction.
- Your winnings are taxable. Another tax tip for procrastinators who've won some money (for example, by winning the lottery, going on a game show, or by gambling) is that you'll owe taxes on the total winnings. So don't forget to pay those by the deadline.
- Child support is not deductible. Child support isn't deductible for federal tax purposes. In the same vein, child support doesn't need to be reported as income either.
While life can get hectic, procrastinating on your taxes can be costly. As we all know, Uncle Sam does not mess around. To get some more helpful last-minute tips, don't delay: Check out FindLaw's Tax Law section right away.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.