5 simple tips on how to not go crazy from last-minute tax filing

last-minute tax

America is a nation of procrastinators. The way we do our taxes proves it. And with the 2019 tax deadlines fast approaching, millions of taxpayers across the country still haven’t submitted their income tax returns.

According to data from the Internal Revenue Service, up to 25% of Americans wait until the last few days before the deadline to file their returns every year, which amounted to over 21.5 million last-minute taxpayers in 2018.

Even Albert Einstein himself found it difficult to complete his income tax returns, saying

This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher.

Most people postpone filing because they believe they can somehow avoid this process, which they find tiresome and complex, by thinking ”if I delay it long enough, it’ll just go away”. But in fact, doing taxes at the last minute is easier than you might think.

Below are some useful tips on how to save your money and avoid issues with the IRS:


1. Know your deadlines

The 2019 deadline for submitting personal income tax returns is April 15. However, taxpayers from Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17 to file their returns because of Patriots’ Day and Emancipation Day (April 15 and April 16 respectively).

The IRS has calculated that it takes at least 15 hours to file the most commonly used (more than 50 percent of all filers) tax form, which is Form 1040. However, you’re likely to spend much more time preparing your return if one or several tax-related documents are missing.


2. Recall the documents you should prepare

Sometimes it’s difficult to find out which form is relevant to you or your business. It’s even more of a headache keeping up with the latest changes in tax forms and policies. Moreover, in certain cases, you’re only allowed to use the newest version of a form.

That’s why we’re reminding you about the new Form 1040 which is intended to replace the old 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ. Read more about the new format HERE.

To avoid confusion, get familiar with all the newest IRS requirements for the 2019 tax season for both individuals and businesses.


3. File electronically

The number of US taxpayers who choose to file their tax returns electronically continues to grow and has already exceeded 50 million (over 92% of all submissions).


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Today, there are plenty of web-based document management platforms allowing you to speed up the submission process by filling out, e-signing and sending out your tax forms via Email or USPS without even leaving your web browser.


4. Organize your documents

Avoid the hassle. Keep all of your tax-related documents in one folder so you don’t have to search for, let’s say, a necessary invoice hours before the tax-filing deadline.

With PDFfiller you can create a smart folder to easily search for a document by its tags in your account.

Of course, you can always hire an individual tax preparer, attorney, CPA or enrolled agent to do taxes on your behalf.

Read about some basic recommendations on how to save money and avoid pitfalls when choosing your tax preparer HERE.


5. Consider the steps to take if you can’t complete your return on time

If you can’t meet the April 15 deadline to file your federal return, you can apply for a tax extension and delay filing your return until October 15th.

A tax extension makes sense if you’re missing key documents, dealing with an unexpected life event or simply running out of time to get your taxes done by the deadline. Whatever your reason, it’s a simple process to apply for those extra months.

Even if you don’t fall into the category of people who report their taxes as soon as the IRS starts accepting returns, you still have plenty of chances to send out your return on time, avoid penalties and claim your tax refund.

In a nutshell, the sooner you file your return, the better. Start planning now for next year and don’t make missing the tax return deadline a habit.