Get expert tax-filing tips from Dave Ramsey as April 15 deadline nears

With less than a month to go, tax season is quickly coming to a close. Last year, nearly one-fourth of Americans who filed their taxes on time did so within the last two weeks before the deadline, according to the IRS.(1,2) So don’t fret! Ramsey Media Channel (Ch. 792) host Dave Ramsey is here to help. Get started today and follow these simple steps to make tax time less stressful.

Get Started

Don’t know where to start? Use this tax preparation checklist to save time and help you gather the right paperwork the first time around.

If you’re wondering whether you need a tax professional, take this quiz to find out.

Planning ahead? Here’s the smartest way to use your tax refund

Don’t Fool Yourself Into Not Filing

Let’s get one thing straight: Ignoring your tax obligation won’t make it go away. 

The 2018 deadline for most taxpayers is April 15 — but if you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you have until April 17.(3) If you fail to file by that date, here’s what will happen:

  • Due a refund? You won’t be penalized — but Uncle Sam won’t give you your money until you do. You have three years from the original deadline to file.(4) If you don’t file by then, you can kiss your refund goodbye.
  • Owe taxes? You’ll be charged a late-filing penalty of 5% of the taxes owed for each month — or part of a month — that your return is late, up to a maximum of 25%. The IRS also charges a late-payment penalty and interest on your unpaid taxes starting the date payment is due, even if you filed an extension.(5)

Get Organized Fast

We know tracking down paperwork isn’t the most relaxing way to spend your free time, but here are a few of the documents you may need to gather:

  • W-2 forms
  • 1099 forms
  • Mortgage interest statements
  • Receipts for tax credits or deductions like charitable giving, childcare, and education costs

It’s tempting to take the standard deduction and call it a day. But if your expenses add up to more than your standard deduction, itemizing is your best bet.

Want help? Ask an experienced tax advisor for advice. But keep in mind that tax pros are busy this time of year, so don’t wait!

Consider an Extension

If you’re missing documentation or something keeps you from hitting the deadline you can request a six-month extension. Simply fill out IRS Form 4868 and submit it to the IRS by April 15.(6)

Just be aware that an extension doesn’t buy you more time to pay your tax bill. It simply gives you more time to file. When you request an extension, you must estimate your tax liability (if any) and send payment with your request. You’ll be charged penalties and interest on the amount you owe after April 17.

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