6 Tips to Keep in Mind When Filing Taxes

Filing taxes on your own can be complicated. It’s demanding work and it can get confusing. To add to some of the tax filing confusion, taxes shouldn’t be a once a year chore, it’s part of your finances that should be worked on all year.

If you might have neglected your return a bit, the professionals at Broussard Poché, LLP want to give you peace of mind that your finances are in order.

Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when filing taxes on your own:

  1. Filing Status
    This is a common source of confusion and can lead to mistakes.  Include updates to marriage, divorce, new house, and kids, also terms like “Head of Household” can get tricky.  Remember, your relationship status on Dec. 31 will determine your filing status for the entire year.
  2. Understanding Extensions
    Individuals and businesses can apply for an extension to file their taxes after the April 17, 2018 deadline but your taxes are still due.  An extension doesn’t mean you won’t pay what you owe, penalties, late fees, and interest will all still be due.
  3. Deduction Documentation
    Keeping track of receipts is not a tax cliche, it’s a necessity.  Making notes on spending year-round can cut the stress at filing time and uncover some deductions you make have forgotten.
  4. Don’t Forget Disaster Losses
    Living in Louisiana comes with its own unique set of tax issues. If you had a flood or weather-related disaster this year, don’t forget to include itemized deductions on your tax return. Remember your area had to be officially declared a disaster area for these deductions to apply.
  5. Check Your ITIN
    If you typically use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) be aware of its status. ITINs expire if not used on a federal tax return at least once every three years. If this sounds like it might be a problem for you, submit your application for renewal (Form W-7) and the required documentation now! Or you can attach the forms and documentation to your federal tax return.
  6. Stay Organized
    This could be the step between savings and missed opportunity.  We recommend keeping some sort of a spreadsheet or list that outlines your tax information.  This would be sources of income, charitable gifts, IRA and 401k Contributions, etc.  Update it each year and you are less likely to make mistakes.

If you have questions during the filing process, contact Broussard Poché, LLP and speak with one of our tax experts.  Don’t leave anything to chance, your finances shouldn’t be a gamble.  We are here to help.