If you are a last-minute tax-filer, you get a break this year — three extra days to file your taxes. The deadline is April 18, 2017, because April 15, the day taxes are usually due, falls on a Saturday, and also because on Monday, the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day. As a result, the tax deadline has been extended to the following Tuesday, April 18, and you get the extra time to file.
Even if you wait to the deadline to actually file your returns, you should already be preparing for them. Unfortunately, people often put off doing returns because they expect that they may not have the money to pay what they owe. However, even if you find yourself drowning in debt to the extent that you don’t have the money to pay your taxes, there are things you can do to help.
The skilled and seasoned Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to anyone. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your financial situation with the IRS, the State of Ohio, and whatever additional debt problems you are facing. We will develop a debt-relief plan that’s best for you.
How to Prepare for Taxes
In preparing to do your taxes, you should take the following steps:
- Gather your information.
You should have been sent the information you need for taxes by the end of January, 2017. When you get each form, verify that the information is accurate and matches your own records. If you find an error, contact the company that sent it and ask for a corrected document.
Common forms include:
- Form W-2 if you have a job
- Form SSA-1099 if you received Social Security benefits
- Various 1099s to report income such asdividends and interest
- Form 1095-A to report information concerning health coverage
- Gather your receipts.
Examine receipts to help decide whether you will take the standard deduction or itemize deductions. Determine which is better based on receipts you have for deductible expenses such as non-reimbursed medical expenses, property taxes, charitable deductions, and job and investment-related expenses.
- Gather personal information.
Make a list of things you will need to have for your forms, including social security numbers for each dependent, addresses of vacation homes and rental property; dates you moved; property you bought and sold, etc.
- Choose a preparer and schedule an appointment.
Get referrals from friends and advisors. Make sure the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and is authorized to prepare federal tax returns. The sooner you have your appointment, the better, so you can get advice on actions that may lower your tax bill.
If you do not want to pay a preparer, you have the option of doing it yourself by buying tax preparation software or doing the return online or on paper. You may also qualify for getting free, in-person help from organizations such as AARP (if you are 60 or older), or be eligible (adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less) to file tax returns free using online services provided by the Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership encompassing 14 commercial tax-software companies and the IRS (use the Free File Wizard tool on the IRS website).
- Decide what to do about a refund.
If you expect a refund, you can do one of the following:
- Apply some or all of it toward your tax bill on the next return
- Get a check or direct deposit into your checking orsavings account
- Contribute some or all to accounts such as IRAs, health savings accounts, education savings accounts, or buyUS Savings bonds
- Decide whether to ask for a filing extension.
If you can’t get everything ready before April 18, you can request a filing extension. While you will have more time to file without late-filing penalties, you still need to pay the tax that is due by April 18. You will need to estimate what you owe, and send it to the IRS on time.
How to File For an Extension in Ohio
The first thing to do is qualify for a federal extension, as this will be honored by Ohio as well. Attach a copy of the extension, or extension confirmation number, or a printed copy of the federal acknowledgment to your Ohio income tax return. You will still need to pay your Ohio tax on form IT 40P by April 18, 2017, unless you are covered by the military tax provisions (see Income Taxes and the Military).
Contact Us for Help
The tax load is a big contributor to debt for Americans. If tax woes are adding to an already difficult financial burden, bankruptcy may be a solution you should consider. While generally you can’t discharge tax debt in bankruptcy, there are some exceptions where you may be able to discharge taxes that are more than three years old. And by discharging your other debts, bankruptcy may put in you a position to meet your taxes. In any case, it pays to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer who knows whether the intricacies of tax laws can work in your favor.
The skilled and seasoned Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to anyone. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your financial situation with the IRS, the State of Ohio, and whatever additional debt problems you are facing, and devise an appropriate debt-relief plan.
Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email today to set up your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.