Are you one of the 40 million US taxpayers to file a tax return after April 5th? That number represents around 30% of all tax returns! If you haven’t gotten started on your tax return just yet, if you want to meet this year’s deadline, today’s the day to get started and getting started is easier than ever if you use TurboTax or H&R Block Online.
All you have to do, once you’re on either of these sites, is enter your personal information. Once you’ve gotten past that point, you can enter the information from your W-2 (read What To Do If You Haven’t Received Your W-2) and begin the interview. You’ll be asked simple questions about your various sources of income for the year and then you’ll transition to the expense section. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to review the information you’ve entered and then you’ll have the opportunity to e-file.
If you’re not ready to complete your tax return, whether because you’re waiting on paperwork, or for any other reason, you can also use TurboTax and/or H&R Block Online to file form 4868 and get an extension to file (though not an extension to pay).
To get the extra time you must:
- Properly estimate your 2011 tax liability using the information available to you
- Enter your total tax liability on line 4 of Form 4868, and 3. File Form 4868 by the regular due date of your return
- Pay any additional taxes due
Form 4868 does not extend the time to pay taxes, only the time to file. If you do not pay the amount due by the regular due date (you will still owe interest and possibly even penalties). Any payment you make with your application for extension will be treated as a payment of tax. You don’t have to explain why you are asking for the extension. The IRS will contact you only if your request is denied.
Everyone wants a tax break at tax time!
A tax break would be pretty handy right about now, wouldn’t you say? Open a traditional IRA with Scottrade, make a contribution before the tax deadline and you may be able to build your retirement nest egg AND lower your tax exposure (check with a tax advisor to be sure since there are income limits).
How much can I put in an IRA? If you qualify, you can contribute up to $5,000 (or $6,000 if you’re age 50+) for the current tax year.
Why choose a Scottrade no-fee IRA?
- No hidden fees: no opening, closing, annual or custodian fees
- Self-direction — you choose your investment vehicles
- Tax advantaged earnings growth
- No minimum annual contribution
- Choose from many types of IRAs (not all are tax deductible)
If you aren’t sure which tax preparation software to use, check out TurboTax vs H&R Block Online or use one of the lesser known tax programs. No matter which way you decide to go, it’s time to get going!