Equifax

Finance Blog

Tax Filing Deadline: Last-Minute Tax Mistakes To Avoid

Written by Eva Rosenberg on October 13, 2010 in Tax  |   No comments

Tax Filing Deadline: Last-Minute Tax Mistakes To Avoid You’re sitting there gloating, aren’t you? You filed your tax return ages ago—and already have your refund, right? Well, some people are just a bit slower, perhaps for good reason. There is one tax benefit you can…

Tax filing  last minute-avoid mistakesTax Filing Deadline: Last-Minute Tax Mistakes To Avoid

You’re sitting there gloating, aren’t you? You filed your tax return ages ago—and already have your refund, right?

Well, some people are just a bit slower, perhaps for good reason. There is one tax benefit you can get only by waiting until the last minute—a final big contribution to certain retirement plans.

Make sure you avoid last-minute tax mistakes that will cost you dearly when the April 18, 2011 (yes, you have until April 18 to file next year) tax filing deadline comes around.

Last-Minute Retirement Plan Payments

Folks whose solo 401(k) accounts were open by December 31, 2009, have until October 15, 2010, to finalize funding the account for 2009. Procrastinators who didn’t set up an account may set up a 2009 SEP-IRA and fund it all the way until October 15. These last-minute funding deadlines apply only if the tax return hasn’t been filed yet.

Why do we care? Because a small-business owner and his or her spouse may each contribute as much as $49,000, depending on the business’s profits. You’ll find more details in IRS Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business.

There’s no reason you can’t start making plans for 2010, too.

Last-Minute Deductions Search

Dig out all those receipts you’ve been saving and stashing everywhere—you know, the ones with potential tax deductions. Where should you look?

  • The purses and wallets you used in 2009
  • You car—in the slot in the visor, next to the driver’s seat, behind the seats, in the trunk, and in the various pockets and cup holders
  • Your children’s backpacks, their schoolbags, or whatever they were carrying last year when you stuck a receipt in there, meaning to retrieve it as soon as you got home but didn’t
  • That receipt drawer in the kitchen. Or is it the den? The bathroom? Where the heck is that drawer full of crumpled receipts? Oh yes! The hall closet!

You’re getting the idea. Start digging for all the notes and receipts you can find.

People who use software like Quicken or QuickBooks can enter their receipts into the system helter-skelter. You don’t need to put them in order—the system will do it for you. Just be sure to save the records all in one place.

One note regarding receipts on thermal paper: if the text hasn’t totally disappeared yet, make photocopies of those receipts or scan them before they fade.

Medical, Dental, and Charity

For medical and dental expenses, call your pharmacy, primary physician, dentist, chiropractor, Reiki practitioner, etc., for your 2009 printouts or summary statements. Your insurance carrier can give you a printout of your insurance payments for the year—perhaps even your co-pays?

If you use one of those keychain discount cards at the drugstore, you can probably get a list of medical-related expenses there.

Get hold of your final pay stub for 2009. It may show health insurance premiums you have paid. It might even show other deductible expenses, like union dues.

If you see costs for disability insurance, don’t deduct them. As long as those premiums are not deducted, any benefits you collect will be tax-free to you. Sweet!

When it comes to charitable contributions, you must have the receipts in hand before you file the tax return. If you’re missing receipts for donations of $250 or more, contact the charity and get a replacement right away. In addition to showing the contribution date in 2009, the receipt or letter should be dated 2009. Having the wrong year on the cover letter has cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in lost contributions. The Tax Court has supported IRS on this technicality, alas.

You don’t have much time. But if you gather every document you can find, you may still be able to cut last year’s taxes at the very last minute.

Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com, where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com.

Read More:

Weird Taxes Affecting You Right Now
Estate Tax Update: How Will the Estate Tax Affect You?
The Nanny Tax: How to Pay Nannies, Babysitters, and Home Help
Tax Repercussions of Divorce
Tax Consequences of Unemployment

No comments yet


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Tax Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter