With April 15 just a few days away, many people might be in a little bit of
1.You need these major documents
In order to file your taxes, most people need a W-9 from any employer you worked for in 2018. This lays out your income, what taxes you’ve paid on your income in 2018, and general information like the Employer ID Number (EIN).
In addition to personal information such as your social security number, you’ll also need any records related to medical expenses and any proof of tax-deductible charitable donations. If you are a homeowner, you will need to know information such as your block and lot number as well as mortgage expenses and property taxes.
Every taxpayer is different and will need to gather different information, but the documents listed here are a good place to start. A certified public accountant (CPA) can walk you through exactly what you’ll need to have before filing.
2. Double check, then triple check your information
It’s extremely important to file the correct information with the IRS. While you may have your social security number memorized, it’s never a bad idea to triple check what you’ve written. Mistakes happen, and you’ll be happy to catch them early.
Here’s a quick checklist of some large areas you’ll want to check:
- Social security number
- Check your math!
- Direct deposit information
- Your signature and date
- Your W-9 form
3. File electronically!
The fastest way to meet the filing deadline is to file your return electronically. Filing online is secure, convenient, and can be free using IRS Free File. You’ll receive fast acknowledgement that your return was received.
If you’re not comfortable filing online yourself, a CPA can complete your return and file electronically for you.
4. What to do if you need extra time
Your 2018 tax return must be filed by April 15, 2019. If you cannot submit your tax return by that time, you can file for an automatic extension that will give you until October 15, 2019 using the IRS Form 4868.
Note that your 2018 tax liability must be paid by April 15, 2019, even if you file for a tax extension.
5. What if you can’t pay the balance due?
Even if you can’t pay your balance, file your tax return by the deadline. Pay as much as you can when you file and keep paying what you can after you file.
To ask the IRS for additional time to pay your taxes, or to set up a payment plan, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
6. How do you get help?
Whether you’re in a jam or just have general questions, you can always call a CPA. Our experienced team at Heffler is at the forefront of changing tax laws, rules and regulations, and provides guidance on everything from general tax returns to complex tax matters.
The IRS also has several resources available through IRS.gov.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less, people with disabilities, and those who speak limited English. Visit IRS.gov/VITA
- The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for taxpayers 60 years of age or older. TCE volunteers specialize in answering questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. Visit IRS.gov/TCE.
- For general help, visit IRS.gov/HELP.
John P. Heckler, CPA, who has 34 years of experience in accounting services, serves as a Principal for Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP. John has specific expertise in accounting and attestation services, taxation, management advisory services, forensic accounting, and litigation support and regulatory compliance services.