In some situations, filing your taxes at the last minute is inevitable. You may not get the documents you need from an employer or financial institution, or you just know that your schedule will not allow for filing as soon as you would like. In these situations, you can take some steps now to making filing a little bit easier, even if you have to wait until the last minute to actually file the returns.
When Are You Considered a Late Filer?
Your individual taxes are generally due by April 15 every year. If you wait until the last week available to file, you are certainly not alone. In fact, roughly 21 million Americans will file in the week of April 15 every year. The IRS reports that the number is approximately one in seven filers.
Even though the filing date is April 15, you are in the latter half of the tax season if you plan to file on or after March 1, 2021. By that time, your tax preparer is already deep to their tax-season “crunch” with various returns from a variety of filers.
Getting Ready to File Late: Tips and Suggestions
If you know that it’s fairly likely that you will be filing late, then consider the steps below to set yourself and your accountant up for success. To ensure that your return is prepared and processed in a timely manner, use these tips to streamline the process.
- Get your tax documents in order.
Even if you can’t get your taxes done right away, you can still start to gather documents and organize them. Having them compartmentalized ahead of time will make filing more manageable and help you take advantage of as many deductions and credits as possible. Divide into sections that include:
- Stock sales/purchase
- Itemized deductions
- Business Income and expenses
- Rental Income and expenses
If you have purchased any major equipment as a business owner or landlord or someone who has a side venture, be sure that you have that information gathered and ready to go as well.
- Provide a summary of income and expenses.
Creating a list of the documents you have that support your income and expenses can also be very beneficial to keep you organized. It will also help you ensure that you are not missing any information before your tax appointment.
- Gather expense information for businesses or rentals.
Tracking all of your expenses for your business or rental property can be a time-consuming task by itself. Take the time to really think about every cost that affected your venture. Having this information itemized or ready to present to your tax preparer can be a huge time saver. If you have business software, gather summary information from that service. Many types of business software have reports and year-end summaries that will make tax time much more manageable. Utilize these tools if they are available to you.
Be sure to also review your bank accounts for the year to track down any business purchases that you may have missed as well. Reconciling these accounts with your records can help you recall even small purchases, and those can end up saving you hundreds of dollars at tax time.
- Give us a heads up about your situation.
If you will know ahead of time that you will be a late filer, it is a good idea to let us know as soon as possible. Giving them an estimate of when they can expect to see your documents can be very beneficial from a planning perspective as well.
Call one of our offices to talk through how best to prepare to file your taxes late. We can provide suggestions that will work for your unique situation and get ready to work on your return as soon as you are ready. If you’d like to set up a meeting ahead of getting all of your documents, that might be a good idea as well. Call our Meriden office at 203-634-7549 or our Madison office at 203-318-1488. You can also fill out our contact form to have a member of our team contact you.