Tax filing season is getting closer, but there are still some things taxpayers can do to impact their 2017 tax return. Failing to accurately and comprehensively complete your tax return can result in delays and even penalties.
Even if you currently owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) money, it is important to file a tax return. If you do not file your return in time then the IRS will charge you an additional 5 percent failure to file fee every month. Contact an attorney if you are unsure what steps to take when facing unpaid taxes. The IRS states that you should complete this checklist by December 31st to get ready for filing season, no matter your circumstances.
7 steps to complete by the New Year
- Document charitable contributions and send in all the donations that have been gathering dust in the closet. Charitable contributions before the end of the year will count towards the 2017 tax year.
- If you have moved this year, then make sure to notify the IRS before December 31st. Do this by mailing your change of address in IRS Form 8822.
- If you are over age 70 1/2, then you must receive payments from your retirement accounts by the end of the year. You should set up payments for any employer retirement plans and IRA accounts.
- Complete your employer retirement account contributions; however, you can make 2017 IRA contributions until April 18, 2018.
- Have you had name changes due to marriage or divorce this year? Notify the Social Security Administration of your name change. You will want your new name to match IRS documents. Mismatching names between the SSA records and your tax return can cause issues and delay your refund.
- Do you use a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a Social Security Number for filing a tax return? Some ITINs will expire this year. You can avoid tax return delays by renewing your expired ITIN right away.
- If you will be filing with a new software product then you may need to fill in your 2016 Adjusted Gross Income. If you need a copy of your 2016 tax return to determine your AGI, then go to the IRS website to request delivery.
If you have completed this checklist, then file when you are ready. You can file early if you have an accurate and complete return.