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The Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting Your Taxes Done NOW

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I’m not trying to be your mother or anything, but I will start with the obligatory reminder that your taxes are due very very soon. These things are really important, and could give you the extra cash you need to purchase that long-awaited bucket bag.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here is a four-step checklist for taking care of your taxes stat:

1. Gather all tax forms and other necessary documents. 

Before you start, get all of your tax-related paperwork in front of you. This generally includes a W-2 (employees) or 1099 (freelancers), plus other receipts and expenses. Call your parents if you need help.

Mark Jaeger, Director of Tax Development at TaxACT, says the company offers a free to-do list to help ensure you’re doing everything you need to be doing with this paperwork. Download it here.

2. Don’t forget the easy go-tos.

TurboTax is great if you’re filing yourself, or you can just head to H&R Block. Call ahead and ask for a last-minute appointment.

3. Remember “11:59,” the magic number for filing. 

Keith Klein, an independent advisor and entrepreneur who owns Turning Pointe Wealth Management, reminds us that you have until April 15 at 11:59 p.m. to submit your taxes. At this point, it’s best to e-file your return, so just make sure you hit “submit” before midnight. If you really want to go the snail-mail route, many post offices will stay open until midnight on this particular date to accommodate the end of tax season, but best to double-check your local branch to be safe.

Jaeger also recommends choosing direct deposit to get your refund ASAP. The IRS issues most refunds in fewer than 21 days. State refund times vary.

4. If you’re really freaking out, file an extension. 

If you do need more time, you can file an extension by filling out this form. Klein notes that if you owe money to the IRS, you have to send that amount along with the extension form.

“If you’re not sure how much to send in with your extension, it is better to send more. Then, you can apply any excess to the next tax year. But, if you under-pay, you will have interest and penalties due with your return when you do turn it in,” Klein said.

5. Team up with a professional. 

After filing an extension, it’s highly recommended that you make an appointment with a CPA (H&R Block is an easy go-to), to help you navigate the extension filing process and file correctly. Not only will this save you time, but it will also save you money.

Good luck, my little procrastinators. My you’re growing up so fast. And, don’t forget to call your grandmother!

Photo: westend61 / Getty Images


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