Monday, April 14, 2014

Need More Time? File for an Extension -- Deadline is October 15

Need More Time? File for an Extension  -- Deadline is October 15

Tax returns are due TOMORROW!

Do you need more time to get your stuff together?  If that’s the case, you can request an automatic six-month extension. This year’s extension due date will be October 15. Go to and find Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.” It’s a very short form -- only a third of a page. On the left side, you identify yourself and on the right side, you provide an estimate of how much, if anything, you’ll owe when you do file your return. You can file your Form 4868 electronically or on paper. Follow the instructions.

• If you send a payment with Form 4868, you should include that amount on Line 68 when you eventually file your return.

• If you miss the April 15 deadline without applying for an extension (or miss the October extension deadline), there will be penalties, which can be stiff. However, if you can show “reasonable cause” for your failure to file on time, such as serious illness, natural disaster, and the like, the IRS will consider those reasons and may waive the penalty.

This is very important: the extension gives you more time to file your return, but any taxes you owe are still due by April 15! If you delay paying your taxes, you’ll owe interest and may be charged a penalty.

The Actor’s Tax Guide offers last-minute help.  Go to

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eight Tax-Time Errors to Avoid

Eight Tax-Time Errors to Avoid

Tax Day is just over a week away.  As you enter the home stretch, here are some errors to look out for.  If you make a mistake on your tax return, it usually takes the IRS longer to process it. The IRS may have to contact you about that mistake before your return is processed, which will delay the receipt of your tax refund.

The IRS says that e-filing greatly lowers the chance of errors. In fact, you’re about twenty times more likely to make a mistake on your return if you file a paper return instead of e-filing!
Here are eight common errors to avoid.

1. Wrong or missing Social Security numbers.  Be sure you enter SS#s for yourself and others on your tax return exactly as they are on the Social Security cards.

2. Names wrong or misspelled.  Be sure you enter names of all individuals on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.

3. Filing status errors.  There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. Most people know their status, but if you’re unsure, IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, can help you choose the right one. Electronic tax prep programs will also help you choose the correct filing status.

4. Math mistakes.  If you file a paper tax return, double and triple check your math. If you e-file, the software does the math for you, but check it yourself, anyway. 

5. Errors in figuring credits, deductions.  Take your time and read the instructions carefully. Many people make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit and their standard or itemized deductions. 

6. Wrong bank account numbers.  Direct deposit is the best way to receive your tax refund. It’s fast, easy, and safe.  But make sure you enter your bank routing and account numbers correctly.

7. Paper forms not signed, dated.  An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s invalid. Remember both spouses must sign a joint return.

8. Electronic signature errors.  If you e-file your tax return, you will “sign” the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number. For security purposes, the software will ask you to enter the Adjusted Gross Income from your originally-filed 2012 federal tax return. (Don’t use the AGI amount from an amended or corrected 2012 return.) You may also use last year's PIN if you e-filed last year and remember your PIN.

Get tax advice from The Actor’s Tax Guide at