If you didn’t quite finish your tax return by April 18, filing for a tax extension was a smart move.
It’s easy to complete Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File, and get another six months to put everything together.
In fact, it’s a little too easy. And the extension of time is often more time than most of us need.
The new October 16 deadline may seem far away, but be cautious! It will be here before you know it.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your tax return on track.
Do as much as you can on your return.
If you haven’t already, prepare as much of your return as you can now.
If you’re waiting for information from someone else, make an estimate.
Mark estimated amounts on your return, so you’ll remember to go back to them later.
Keep track of your tax notes.
As you prepare your return, you should keep a notebook or list on your computer of tax items you still need (use a tax return checklist) and questions you have.
As you find the information you need, check it off the list.
Additionally, jot down how you arrived at different amounts, such as the square footage of your office or how many days you spent at a vacation rental you own.
Keep these notes with your tax return.
That way, if the IRS ever questions anything on your return, your notes can help explain where you got your information.
Keep your tax documents organized.
Before you file your tax documents, take a few minutes to arrange them so they’re easy to find later.
Make notes on credit card statements and receipts as necessary.
Place check marks on tax documents to indicate the information you already entered on your tax return.
A little preparation now will save you from starting all over when you get back to working on your return.
Finish up as soon as possible.
Trust me, you’ll enjoy summer vacation a lot more if you know you already filed your tax return.
This is especially true if you’re worried about how much tax you’ll owe when you file.
Don’t hold onto your return forever, hoping to find more deductions. Simply do the best you can and file.
It won’t get easier to remember deductions and other information as times goes by.
If you find something important later, you can always file an amended tax return.
Also, as you complete your return, don’t forget to enter any payments you made when filing your April 18 extension.