Not prepared for Tax Day? EY Tax Guide 2017 provides last minute tips before filing

New York, 5 April 2017

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With Tax Day just two weeks away, taxpayers may be feeling overwhelmed to complete their taxes before the April 18 deadline. However, according to the 32nd edition of the EY Tax Guide, taxpayers should take a deep breath, relax and check for any simple mistakes that could potentially hurt their wallets.

“If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, there’s no need to panic,” says Greg Rosica, contributing author to the EY Tax Guide 2017. “One of the worst things you can do when filing your taxes is rush. The first step you should always take is to review last year’s tax return and documentation to reflect on any big life changes you may have made in 2016, such as getting married, having a child, freelancing or moving into a new home, all of which come with tax implications and deductions. Many people overlook these changes.”

Don’t know where to start? Use these 11 last-minute tips from the EY Tax Guide 2017 as your checklist:

  1. First and foremost, check your math, even if you use software to file.
  2. Be sure that your Form W-2 and all Form 1099s are correct. If not, have them corrected as soon as possible.
  3. Double-check that your social security number has been correctly written on the return.
  4. Triple check that you have claimed all of your dependents, such as elderly parents who may live with you.
  5. Attach all copies B of your W-2 forms to your return in order to avoid correspondence with the IRS. If you received a Form 1099-R showing federal income tax withheld, attach copy B of that form as well.
  6. If you’re married, consider whether filing separate returns is more beneficial than a joint return.
  7. If you are single and have a dependent who lives with you, consider the possibility that you might qualify for the lower tax brackets available to a head of household or surviving spouse.
  8. Check that you signed and dated your return and entered your occupation. If you are filing a joint return, be sure that your spouse also signs as required.
  9. If you worked two or more jobs, see if you can claim a credit for any overpaid social security taxes withheld from your wages.
  10. Be sure to sign your return.
  11. Keep copies of all documents you have sent to the IRS.

For procrastinators, Rosica offers some good news: “April 15 lands on a weekend this year, so the deadline is extended to Tuesday April 18. This is the second of three consecutive years when the calendar gives taxpayers a minor extension. If that still doesn’t give you enough time to prepare your return, you can also request an automatic six-month extension. The extension gives you until October 16 to file, though you still owe any balance of 2016 tax by April 18th.”  

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