When Can I File My 2018 Taxes?

Tax season is something that no one ever really looks forward to handling, but there are some specific times when you’ll be able to file your 2018 taxes. For the average taxpayer, the window to file taxes happens between January 1 and April 15 every year. All tax forms must be postmarked or electronically filed by April 15, 2018, in order to be considered valid and not risk having a late fee or penalty associated with the account.

Taxes that are filed in 2018 are for the 2017 tax year. Your 2017 taxes are due April 15, 2018 in the United States.

If you’re thinking “when can I file my 2018 taxes” and don’t think that you’ll be able to file your taxes in time, then you can request a 6 month extension that will make your taxes due on October 15 instead. If you have an amount that is due, however, the extension will not add to the deadline. The US operates on a “pay as you go” type of taxation system, which means your total amount due is required from you on April 15.

2018 taxes time

As with any set of rules, there are some exceptions that can change the timing of when you can file your 2015 taxes. Here is everything that you’ll need to know to make sure that you get your taxes filed on time.

#1. Did You Get Your W-2?
You cannot file your tax return until you receive a W-2 from your employer. Your employer is required to provide this documentation to you before February 1 unless special exceptions apply. If you do not receive your W-2, you must show the IRS that you have requested this document and allowed time for your employer to respond before filing taxes without the form. Your employer may be subjected to fines and penalties for not providing this document, so give them every chance that you can.

#2. Don’t Forget the 1099
Many people are going to need to file 1099 forms, even though they don’t realize it. The 1099 form is an indication of payments that have been received for services rendered. Everyone who pays someone more than $600 in a single tax year may need to fill out and send a 1099 tax form as a record of the payments that were made. There are a few exceptions to this rule, most notably rental or mortgage payments. If you pay someone to mow your lawn, however, and you’ve paid them $625 for the season, you’ll likely need to fill out the 1099 before you file your taxes.

#3. You’ve Got Lots of Forms
It pays to wait to file your taxes until all of your required tax forms come in the mail. If you have mortgage interest, then you’ll need the tax documentation for this to take the mortgage interest deductions. If you have made charitable donations, then each charity will be sending you a tax form that shows the amount of the donation. Student loan interest is all deductible and comes on a separate form as well. Get all of these in hand and then you’ll be ready to file your taxes for 2017.

#4. Track All Income Sources
Just because you don’t receive a 1099 form or other tax document doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to report the income. With just a couple of exceptions, all income that you’ve received over the course of a year is to be reported on your tax forms. You may need to track down your financial records to register any payments that were received, including large gift amounts from family or friends, to make sure that all of your income has been properly reported. Any income not reported can result in fines and penalties that can become extensive.

#5. Early 401k Withdrawals
You will need to report a 401k withdrawal as income, even if you took that withdrawal early. Not every withdrawal will withhold the amount of taxes that are required for you to pay, nor will they pay the 10% tax penalty for the early withdrawal. Make sure you go over your financial paperwork from your early withdrawal immediately when it is received so you don’t have a nasty surprise on your 2018 taxes. A $10,000 early withdrawal would have a $1,000 penalty and then income tax associated with it, meaning you could owe $2,500 or more on the distribution if nothing was withheld.

#6. Keep Those Receipts
Receipts will be your best friends when you go to file your 2018 taxes. Now is the time to make sure that you are organized. Separate your receipts based on the purchases that were made. If you have a home-based businesses, then create two separate files and separate the personal and business receipts with the same categories. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll do yourself a favor by keeping business and personal income separate so you don’t have a mess when tax filing time rolls around.

#7. You Can Always Come Back
It is possible to re-file your taxes after you’ve already filed them, even if you are 2-3 years behind. This might be a way to make sure you’ve made the most out of your refunds or reduced the total amount of taxes that you owe. There are some very common deductions that are missed every year, including a home office exemption, job related expenses that aren’t associated with your regular commute, and even the mortgage interest deduction. If you have time, go through your older returns to make sure you’re not donating extra cash to the government.

#8. Lift It Up
You will generally receive a refund faster if you file your taxes as early as possible. The only problem is that the tax code can be rewritten by Congress at any time. Even as you’re getting ready to file your taxes in January 2016, the tax code can be changed and force you to wait to file until the laws are updated. It pays to wait if this happens because if you file using the old documentation and it is changed, then you’ll have to re-file your taxes. This is where an e-filing system can really help you out.

With preparation, your 2018 taxes can be filed quickly and easily. Use these tips to make sure that you file on time.

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