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Learn How to Avoid These 6 Common Tax Errors

Knowing how you need to file your taxes depends on your income and filing status, as well as which deductions and credits you can claim. In this free ebook, we share some common errors to avoid.

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Navigating Tax Season: Last-Minute Tips and Strategies for a Stress-Free April 15

April 15, 2024

Navigating Tax Season: Last-Minute Tips and Strategies for a Stress-Free April 15

Tax season can be stressful, but with the right information and a bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re filing at the last minute, planning for the next tax year, or figuring out the best use for your tax refund, here are some essential tips to help you navigate through.

1. If You Haven't Filed Your Taxes Yet

Today is the deadline! If you haven't filed yet, it's crucial to do so immediately to avoid penalties. Here’s how to handle last-minute filing:

  • File Electronically: This is faster and reduces the chances of errors. For those with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $79,000 or less, the IRS offers a Free File program. Check out the IRS Free File program to see if you qualify.

  • Double-Check Your Return: Simple mistakes like misspelling your name can delay your refund. Make sure everything is correct before you submit.

  • Consider an Extension: If you’re not ready to file, you can apply for an extension using Form 4868. This gives you until October 15 to file your tax return. Remember, the extension is for filing, not for payment. If you owe taxes, estimate and pay what you owe to avoid interest and penalties.

2. Filing for an Extension

If you need more time to prepare your tax return, filing an extension is simple. You must submit Form 4868 by the end of today. You can find this form and more details on filing an extension on the IRS website.

Note: An extension to file is not an extension to pay. If you owe money, it's important to estimate and pay the amount by the end of the day to avoid late fees.

3. Preparing for Future Tax Seasons

Don’t wait until the last-minute next year. Here’s how to prepare ahead:

  • Start Early: Keep track of receipts and other documents throughout the year. Adjust your W-4 to better manage your withholdings.

  • Use Your Return as a Guide: Look at this year's return to make adjustments for next year.

4. Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

If you're expecting a refund, have a plan for it:

  • Spend Wisely: Consider using only a small portion for leisure. The bulk of your refund should go towards improving your financial health—pay off debts, save for emergencies, or invest in your retirement. Here’s a guide on how to manage your tax refund for long-term benefits.

5. The Benefits of Year-Round Tax Planning

Continuous planning can help reduce your tax burden significantly:

  • Save More: Contribute to tax-deferred accounts like an IRA or 401(k).

  • Consult a Professional: Strategies can vary widely depending on your financial situation. For personalized advice, schedule a consultation through Reed Financial Group’s Expert Advice.

Remember, effective tax planning can save you money and stress. For more information or personalized assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.