The tax deadline is right around the corner: April 18 for Federal and April 19 for State of Massachusetts Taxes. With that in mind, here are a few simple tips and tricks which can help you get everything filed and avoid later complications.
Why: One very common mistake is losing tax documents before starting to file. Make sure you have everything you need before you sit down. You need at least one W2 form from each employer you had last year, as well as a 1099-HC from your healthcare provider. You may also need receipts for anything you claim, such as office purchases or donations. If you did any freelance work, it may be reported on a 1099-MISC form. Make sure you have checked all of your files before you sit down to file.
Free Electronic Filing
Why: Using The IRS FreeFile or the State WebFile is a quick, easy, online way to get your taxes entered into the system almost immediately. Some Tax preparation software companies, like TurboTax and TaxACT, also offer free basic Federal returns, but will charge for state returns. All use electronic forms similar to those you have on paper from employers and health insurers.
Ask for Help
Why: With dozens of different forms, fields which may not apply to you, and a fairly complex system of tax write-offs and deductions, it might help to let an expert take a look. Experts like the folks at , or the Harvard Street H&R Block. Using a professional's help protects you better from audits.
Be Aware of Scams
Why: Tax time can be nerve-wracking, so certain scam artists will be looking for nervous people to take advantage of. Familiarize yourself with the IRS Dirty Dozen list, which names a number of the most common and dangerous tax-related scams, such as offshore accounts and identity theft.
Get an Extension
Why: Sometimes, you just can't get the taxes in on time. For that, the IRS has Form 4868, and Massachusetts Department of Revenue has Form M-4868 which are requests for an extension. The payment deadline is still the 18th for Federal taxes, so try to estimate how much money you need to send in and include that with your form.