What a difference a year makes. As the new fiscal year began last October, most of Uncle Sam's offices were closed
and stayed that way until Oct. 17. No such shutdown distraction this year…so far. That means we can focus on ways to cut our taxes. So let's get started.Oct. 4:
For millions, this is the month to absolutely, positively, finally file last year's tax return. You won't get an extension beyond Oct. 15. Don't worry. I'll remind you of the deadline later.
If you're still procrastinating, use this weekend to track down all the tax documents
you'll need to file your 2013 Form 1040.
This includes your W-2 (or W-2s if you had multiple jobs), as well as 1099s for contract payments or investment income. You'll also need to dig out the supporting material you have for charitable donations and business expenses, along with the other items listed on this tax preparation checklist
They should have arrived in late January, early February. Now you just have to remember where you stuck them!Oct. 10:
Does your job include tips
? If so and you received $20 in tips in September, use Form 4070
to report them today to your employer.Oct. 11:
Don't let this last weekend before your tax return is due turn into a lost weekend. Check out these common tax filing mistakes
so you don't make them.
And definitely don't overlook any tax breaks
that could reduce your final 2014 IRS bill.Oct. 15:
Hey, tax procrastinators, here's that reminder I promised. Your filing time is up! Get your Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ en route to the IRS by midnight today or you'll face penalty
and interest charges.
If you're still old school, make sure you get your paper return
in that envelope and to the post office in time to be postmarked Oct. 15. If you e-file, hit "enter" by midnight. Remember, if your 2013 adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less, you still can use the IRS' Free File
Did you have a good weekend, the first in months where you didn't worry about tax filing? Good. Now back to tax work! It's time to start finding ways to cut your 2014 tax bill.
One smart move to make is to adjust your payroll withholding
You'll want to do this regardless of whether you got a big refund or ended up with a big tax bill. Your goal is to pay as close to your final tax bill as possible.Oct. 23:
Do you itemize
? Do you sometimes find you don't have enough to clear the adjusted gross income percentage thresholds, such as 2 percent
for miscellaneous expenses or 10 percent for medical costs?
There's still time to implement a bunching strategy
. You simply keep track of expenses so you can see if you need to pull in, aka bunch, some things into one tax year so they'll get you a deduction.Oct. 27:
Cooler weather is welcome for many reasons, including that it means the risk of hurricanes drops. But the Atlantic hurricane season runs through November, meaning you can't completely dismiss the possibility of a fall tropical system.
If you're not already prepared, get that way. The ol' blog's special Natural Disasters Resources
page can help. Oct. 31:
Beware Halloween's goblins and ghouls tonight!
But you don't have to be afraid of taxes
. There are plenty of easy ways to deal with any tax terrors
you might have.Small Business Tax Calendar:
Important filing, deposit and record keeping dates
throughout the year that your company needs to know. You also can view the full year's important business tax dates in IRS Pub. 509