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The Filing Extension Deadline Is Here—5 Tips for Finishing Your Return

The Filing Extension Deadline Is Here—5 Tips for Finishing Your Return - TaxACT

Way back in April, you hadn’t quite finished your income tax return.

You filed for an automatic six-month extension of time, until October 15, to file your return.

October is here – and perhaps your tax return is right where you left it, six months ago.

No problem.

With these tips, you should have no problem finishing up your return and filing it with confidence before the extended deadline.

Pick up where you left off

Sign in to TaxAct and take a look at your tax return status. Look at your tax return so far, taking note of the sections that are finished, partially finished, or need more work.

If you have paper worksheets or other notes outside of TaxAct, look through them and refresh your memory of where you left off.

Look through your original tax documents and make sure you entered it all in TaxAct.

Place a check mark or other mark by each amount you enter – not just on each piece of paper.

For example, when you enter your mortgage interest statement information, place a check mark by the mortgage interest amount and one by the property tax paid, so you know you have entered each amount.

Gather the last-minute information you need

As you look at your return, look for information that was missing when you stopped working on your return.

If you were waiting for a partnership return Schedule K-1, for example, you should have received it by now.

It helps to make a list of missing information, and check it off as you find each one.

Check all amounts marked Estimated on your return

When you started your income tax return, you probably didn’t have all your information.

Rather than leaving key information out of your return, you may have entered the best information you had at the time.

Not only did this give you a better idea of your tax liability on April 15, in case you needed to make a tax payment with your application for an extension, but entering estimates when you prepared your return makes it easier to remember to finalize your amounts later.

In some cases, you may not be able to document the exact amount for your return.

Calculate the amount as closely as possible, and save documentation of how you arrived at the amount.

With some exceptions, you are allowed to enter estimates on your tax return. Now’s the time to enter your final amounts and remove the Estimated mark from each one.

Don’t let missing information keep you from filing your tax return on time.

If you find information later that differs from the amount you entered, and this information changes the amount of tax you owe on your return, you may need to file an amended return.

Use TaxAct Alerts

The experts at TaxAct have designed Alerts to find errors, omissions, and possible missed tax breaks before you file your return.

Click the Review tab to run the Alerts.

The Filing Extension Deadline Is Here—5 Tips for Finishing Your Return Review - TaxAct

Don’t forget all your tax payments

One item is all too easy to miss when you pick up working on your tax return again – the amount of tax you paid when you filed for an extension.

Be sure you enter it in TaxAct so you don’t pay more tax with your return than you need to.

Don’t wait until the last minute to file your return and pay any tax due

If you filed for an extension on your 2013 individual income tax return, your return is due on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Don’t wait until the last minute, however.

The more time you allow yourself to prepare your return, the less rushed you will feel, and the more you can be sure you’ve found all the deductions and other tax breaks to which you are entitled.

If you owe money to the IRS when you file your return, and you use the EFTPS system to pay, give yourself a little more time.

The IRS recommends that you submit your tax payment to EFTPS by 8 p.m. eastern standard time, at least one calendar day before your tax due date.

What’s the hardest part about finishing up your income tax return?

TaxAct makes preparing and filing your taxes quick, easy and affordable so you get your maximum refund. It’s the best deal in tax. Start free now or sign into your TaxAct Account.
About Sally Herigstad

Sally Herigstad is a certified public accountant and personal finance columnist and author of Help! I Can't Pay My Bills, Surviving a Financial Crisis (St. Martin's Griffin). She writes regularly at,,, RedPlum, and MSN Money. She is an experienced speaker and a member of Toastmasters International. Follow Sally on Twitter.