Quick! File Your Tax Return by the Tax Extension Deadline!

You’ve got two-and-a-half weeks.

That’s right, it’s been almost six full months since April 15, 2019—better known as Tax Day. Hopefully, if you’re reading this blog right now, your taxes are comfortably in the rearview mirror.

If not, we understand.

Life happens! A ton of causes may have led you to apply for an extension to file your taxes for last year: You were dealing with personal or family circumstances, you were still recovering from a natural disaster, or your W-2 just got lost in the mail!

Whatever the reason, you still have some time to file your tax return by the new deadline, but that deadline is coming up fast.

The Federal Tax Extension Deadline is October 15.

So, you have a little over two weeks to get things filed.

If you aren’t prepared for the October 15 deadline, you’re just asking for penalties and fees! And the next couple weeks will fly by much faster than you can expect.

It’s time you laid out a plan.

Filing Your Tax Return by Oct. 15

Quick Disclaimer: This timeline may not be right for you; we intend it to be an outline to give you a sense of the general tasks you need to complete when filing your taxes by the extended line. Your tax needs and financial situation may vary.

October 1st

By the start of October, you’ll need to complete two tasks: gathering your financial documents and choosing a method for filing your tax return.

1. Gather Your Financial Documents

To finish your tax return by the deadline, you need to pull together all the necessary paperwork associated with your 2018 finances. That includes the usual documents like:

  • W2: Wages and Salaries from Your Employer
  • W-2G: Winnings from Gambling Activities
  • 1099 Forms: Stock or Bond Transactions (1099-B), Dividends Earned (1099-DIV), Miscellaneous Income (1099-MISC), and Others.
  • Expense Records & Receipts
  • Deduction Documentations

2. Decide How You’ll File Your Tax Return

By the first of October, you should make a decision about your preferred method for filing your tax return. Specifically, do you qualify for free e-file? Would you prefer to use a professional tax preparation service?

You can choose whatever method you feel works best for your situation, but be sure to make that decision by the start of October. This step only marks the start of your tax filing process, not the finish line. And the next couple weeks will slip away faster than you think.

Fortunately, you can tackle both of these steps easily in a weekend!

October 7th

You’ve gathered your paperwork and determined your filing method. Your next step should be to spend the following week filling out the forms—or coordinating with your tax preparer.

Filing for Yourself

If you’re worried about fitting your taxes into your busy schedule, don’t worry. It’s a lot easier to fill out your tax forms or work through tax software than you may think. Here are some tips:

  1. Break down the process into pieces. You don’t have to complete your taxes in one sitting. On the contrary, this approach can lead you to procrastinate, stall, and ultimately miss the tax extension deadline. Avoid this by breaking down the tax filing process into one-hour chunks, which you can easily slot into even the busiest of schedules!
  2. Get up early or stay up late. Completing your taxes takes time; that’s just a reality of life. But if you’re picturing yourself up late at 1am with papers in one hand and a clump of hair in the other, think again! Your taxes may take time, but if your schedule is full—and if you’ve broken the process down into small chunks—then it really shouldn’t be too bad to stay up an extra hour later or get up an extra hour earlier.

Tax Preparer Filing for You

If a tax preparation company is helping you file your tax return by the extension deadline, then you should spend the first week of October getting them set up with your tax forms, asking them questions, and giving them other paperwork as needed.

Just because you’ve outsourced your tax prep doesn’t mean you won’t need to spend time helping your tax preparer do their job! They’ll work hard to maximize your deductions, produce an error-free return, and wrap up everything in a bow for the IRS by Oct. 15. By October 7, be sure to dedicate a couple hours toward setting them up with whatever they need.

October 10th

Filing for Yourself

If you spent the first week of the month slogging through your tax forms and filling out your return, then Oct. 10 should serve as a hard deadline: Review your work and submit your taxes.

First, double-check every section of your tax return against your original tax forms, and ensure you’ve included the necessary receipts, documentation, and payment where necessary.

Finally, submit! You can either do this digitally through your tax software or via mail with an old-fashioned envelope and stamp!

Tax Preparer Filing for You

Most tax prep companies will give you a timeline for filing on your behalf. This timeline will probably vary somewhat based on the company you select, but go ahead and get in touch with them on Oct. 10 just to check on your tax return’s status!

October 15th

Look at you! If you’ve followed this timeline so far, then you can sit back and relax when the extended tax deadline rolls around. You’re already filed!

Yes, we built some extra days into our timeline to get things filed early. That’s just how we roll.

And that should be how you roll, too. It’s always a smart plan to give yourself a few extra days to file. Not only will it offer you some flexibility, but it will also ensure you remain more comfortable and confident with your return.

Meet the Deadline. Every Time.

Your taxes are in your hands now—unless you’d rather put them in ours!

With the right schedule, you can finish and file your tax return in no time. However, you’ve got a plan and you’ve got the time. If you ask us, it sounds like you’ve got this.

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