Tips for last minute filers on Tax Day
ROANOKE (WSLS10)-- If you've put off doing your taxes until the last minute, time is up. After three extra days for a federal holiday, today is the federal deadline to submit your tax return.
Last year, 21 million Americans, about 1 in 7 people, waited until the last minute to file their returns. Whether it's planning to pull together a tax return last minute or file for an extension, experts say it's important to make that decision and act on it by today-- especially if you owe money to the IRS.
If you don't file an extension, there's a 5% federal failure to file fee that caps out at 25% and a 6% state fee that caps out at 30%. For someone who owes $1,000 federally and $100 to the state, not filing for an extension could end up costing an extra $280 by the end of five months.
With that same amount owed, filing an extension could save big money. There's only a federal fee of 0.5% and a state fee of 2% per month. During that same time frame, there would only be a $35 dollar fee.
Roanoke CPA, Micah Fraim, says these extensions are especially important for small businesses. He says many small businesses don't realize they need to save $0.30 to $0.40 from each dollar for taxes, so when it comes time to file their returns, they're not ready to pay.
"Small business owners are very good at what they do," says Fraim. "But very bad at managing money. You don't make plans for that, so people don't have records together and don't have the money. That puts you right up against the [tax deadline] and don't have the money to pay."
To file an extension, file onto the IRS website and fill out the extension form. It takes less than ten minutes to complete.
There are also some common mistakes people make when filing their taxes, that could end up costing them more. Fraim says one of the biggest mistakes is with itemizing, which many people do when they have a mortgage payment. He says people simply forget to itemize a lot of the things that they're spending money on.
"You can do mortgage interest, real estate taxes," says Fraim. "I find that people forget about personal property taxes. You can do cash donations and Goodwill donations. People forget about charitable miles, which are the miles you drive to deliver to Goodwill or places like that."
He also sees people forget about student loan interest. You can also claim unreimbursed employee expenses, like driving your personal vehicle and using your personal cell phone or internet. Those costs can only be itemized if they exceed 2% of your income.
If you've already filed your taxes, but are still looking for some ways to save money today, there are a lot of restaurants and stores offering discounts on this tax day:
Sonic: 50% off cheeseburgers on April 18
Red Robin: On April 19, get a Ramen burger and bottomless fries for $0.22 if you are one of the first 22 students in the door with a valid student ID. Everyone else will enjoy a $2.22 discount, no coupon required
Arby's: Two Arby's Gyros for $6 until April 30
Take 15% off your check during lunch or dinner (excludes alcohol, taxes and gratuity). Download a coupon from
Whether you're a member or not, get a free HydroMassage at any Planet Fitness location during tax week. Get the coupon from the
Planet Fitness website
Regal Entertainment: Get 25% off candy on April 18 and 50% off popcorn on April 19 if you join the Regal Crown Club
GameStop: Get 25% off pre-owned interactive gaming figurines if you order online by April 30
Best Buy: Shop the Tax Refund Event and save up to $20 on select video games and get $100 off Macbooks on April 18
Royal Caribbean: Royal Caribbean is offering a tax free holiday: they'll pay cruise taxes, fees and port expenses. The offer applies to bookings made by today, certain exclusions apply.
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