If you expect to file your 2017 tax returns at the last minute, you’re not alone. Approximately 40 million Americans waited until the last few days before the deadline to file their tax returns last year, and there’s no reason to believe it will be any different by this year’s April 17 deadline.
Finding Expert Help at the Last Minute.
Accountants and other tax experts are swamped between now and the tax deadline and may not be in a position to take on new clients, so ask a financial adviser or attorney to provide a recommendation. If the request comes through an adviser, the accountant might squeeze in a new client at the last minute to keep a professional colleague happy.
Last-Minute Mistakes to Avoid.
People with taxable investment accounts need to make certain all 1099 forms sent in early February are still accurate and that they hadn’t been corrected later in the month. The initial forms sent in late January may have been updated, and you don’t want to file a return based on an incorrect 1099.
Also, don’t forget to include those tax documents that typically arrive later than most. Some aren’t required to be provided to you until late spring. For example, people who are beneficiaries of a trust or a member of an LLC may not receive a Schedule K-1 form until mid-March or later.
If Necessary, File an Extension.
The IRS allows anyone to file for a six-month extension simply by filing form 4868. While it may be uncomfortable to put off a tax return, it’s better to file a correct return instead of rushing headlong to beat the deadline and making mistakes in the process.
Note, however, that filing an extension does not provide extra time to pay your taxes. You still must estimate and pay what you owe by April. You will be charged interest on any amount not paid by the deadline.
Jason Cross is a wealth adviser at McGill Advisors, a division of CI Brightworth. He works with high-net-worth families in investment management and estate planning and helps business owners develop financial plans to sell their businesses. Jason is a Certified Financial Planner™, Certified Trust and Financial Advisor and an active member of the Georgia Bar Association.
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