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Posted on April 11, 2014 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

Have you been so focused on March Madness that you haven’t gotten around to doing your taxes yet? The good new is that being late to the tax return filing game isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because of the government shut down last year, the IRS is a bit behind schedule with processing tax returns and issuing refunds. Early birds, or in this case, early filers, didn’t necessarily get the worm.

So, if you got a late start, don’t worry––there’s still time to get in the game and file your taxes before April 15! Step up to that free throw line, take a deep breath, relax, and focus on what you can do right now:

Gather your tax documents. W-2s. Check. 1099s. Check. 1098s. Check. Itemized receipts. Check. By gathering all the paperwork ahead of time your accountant will be able to get to work quickly and efficiently.

Benefit from last minute tax deductions. Look into setting up or contributing to existing IRA or SEP-IRA or HAS accounts. Sometimes a last minute contribution can offset what you owe. Wouldn’t you rather squirrel that cash away in a non-taxed fund? I know I would. It’s a great way to make sure your money works harder for you.

Make sure you file on time and consider e-filing. Time is money so filing your tax return electronically is a great time saver for today’s on-the-go taxpayer. The IRS also considers it the safest way to file and we are fans of any steps you can take to help keep your identity safe! Other benefits of e-filing are no trip to the post office, no expensive overnight delivery charges, and/or no worrying about tracking your tax return. Best of all, you won’t have to stand in annoying long lines filled with harried last minute filers. Click here for a link to the IRS website.

Same sex couples. Legally married same-sex partners are now required to file their federal tax return, starting with 2013, as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately”. Double-check and make sure you have the correct filing status for your state income tax, however, as it varies from state to state. A tax professional can help you if you are unsure of your filing status.

File for an extension. Sometimes we just can’t pay what we owe right now and while that’s not an optimal situation, don’t despair. You still must file, but the IRS will work out a payment plan with you. Remember if you choose to file for an extension you will have to pay penalty fees and you’ll accrue interest. If you can’t pay everything you owe, try to pay as much as your monthly budget allows until the balance is paid off. Then you can take that same amount of money and either save it or put it towards maxing out your 401K next year. Click on this link to find the IRS extension form.

Beware of tax fraud. Recently, we wrote about protecting your family’s identity during tax season. Click here to revisit those tips.

Preparing your taxes is never a welcome chore. But, you’ll feel great when you’re done and it’s a great first step for getting on the road to putting your financial house in order. While IdentityForce can’t help you win an NCAA title, we can help you keep your identity safe with our products and hopefully help you become a champion––of your finances.

Just because tax season officially ends on April 15, that’s not permission to forget about keeping your financial house in order. So don’t lose your momentum. Stay in the zone by devising your tax strategy for next year.

We’ll be sharing tips about spring-cleaning for your finances in our next post so check back here soon.

And, since we are from New England––Go Huskies.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ethan Moore.