Uncle Sam's 2016 fiscal year begins today and the news, for now, is good. Congress agreed on a short-term financing plan to keep the federal government operating
. The House and Senate have until Dec. 11 to finalize funding for the remainder of FY16. Oct. 5:
Since we don't have to worry, for a while, about Uncle Sam's status, we can focus on our own finances, specifically filing our tax returns by the Oct. 15 extension due date. Don't worry, we'll remind you of the deadline again as it gets even closer. And yes, I'm one of the millions who asked for and taking full advantage of the extra six month.
Dig out all those tax documents
you need to file your 2014 return. 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 the supporting material, such as receipts for charitable donations and business expenses, along with the other items listed on this tax preparation checklist
Don't let this last weekend before your tax return is due turn into a lost weekend. Check out these tax sins of commission
, aka common filing mistakes, so you don't make them. And definitely don't make these tax sins of omission
, aka overlooked tax breaks, that could reduce your final IRS bill. Oct. 13:
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. 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 sending in an old-fashioned paper return
, get the envelope postmarked today. Or e-file by midnight. Remember, if your adjusted gross income was $60,000 or less last year, you still can use the IRS' Free File
program. Oct. 16:
Now that your 2014 return is finally done, get to work reducing your 2015 tax bill. If you itemize
, remember that in a couple of instances your costs must exceed a certain percentage of your adjusted gross income before they are worthwhile. For miscellaneous write-offs, it's 2 percent; for medical and dental expenses, the threshold for most filers is 10 percent of your AGI. To get over both of these deduction hurdles, set up a bunching strategy
As the weather cools, the risk of hurricanes drops. But you can't yet completely dismiss the possibility of a tropical system; just look at Hurricane Joaquin. The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs through November.
It's always better to be safe than sorry when we're talking Mother Nature. If you haven't yet made your storm and financial preparations for any type of disaster
, do so now. The ol' blog's special Natural Disasters Resources
blog page can help.Oct. 26:
When you did file your tax return, did you get a big refund or owe the IRS a lot? Either one is an indicator that you should adjust your payroll withholding
. Your goal is to pay as close to your final tax bill as possible. 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