Feb. 19, 2016 // WorkLife Wisdom: Taxes Less Taxing? Is That Possible?
It’s that time of year again and tax season is upon us. The annual exercise can cause stress that is…taxing. For most people, it’s the only time of year requiring comprehensive organization and reporting of one’s financial information. Regardless of how you get there (i.e., doing taxes yourself or with professional help), remember that this year’s deadline to file is Monday, April 18.
Why is Tax Day April 18?
The regular tax return filing deadline is April 15. However, due to the Washington D.C. Emancipation Day holiday being observed on April 15 instead of April 16, 2016, Tax Day is on the following Monday.
Gather and Organize These Items
- Personal information: Of course, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) needs to know exactly who is filing and who is covered in your tax return. Have on hand Social Security numbers (SSNs) and dates of birth for yourself, your spouse, and dependents.
- Income information: You’ll need W-2 forms for each job held in 2014 for each person in the household to report wage information to the IRS. You may also need various 1099 forms for other types of income (e.g., unemployment, Social Security, health care reimbursement, gambling proceeds, alimony, contract work, investments [interest or dividends], rental property, and income from sale of stock or property).
- Information on tax deductions and credits: While the types of qualified deductions vary greatly by individual, they can all help reduce taxable income. Gather this documentation as applicable: child care costs (with the provider’s name, address, tax ID and amount paid); education costs (Form 1098-T with receipts for qualified payments); adoption costs; home mortgage interest paid (Form 1098); charitable donations (listing contributions and amounts, with receipts for contributions over $250); health spending account contributions (Form 5498-SA); and amounts contributed to retirement accounts (e.g., IRAs).
- Taxes already paid: Note the state and local income taxes you’ve paid, plus real estate taxes paid, to keep from overpaying on the federal return.
- Bank information: You’ll need routing and account numbers for direct deposit of your refund.
- Last year’s tax return: Always keep copies of your forms and tax statements.
Check Your Documents’ Accuracy
Once you have all your documentation, ensure that it is accurate. Organizations can make mistakes on W-2 and 1099 forms. If you spot an error, contact the organization and request a correction.
Decide How to File Your Return
Options include hiring an accountant or tax preparer, purchasing tax prep software, getting free, in-person help if you qualify, or doing the return yourself online or on paper. If you’re using professionals, contact them as early as possible to avoid the last-minute rush. If you’re using tax preparation software or filing through a tax professional, submitting your return electronically via e-file can result in faster processing and a quicker tax refund for you.
FAA members have access to discount options through their WorkLife Solutions Program. To access these discounts, go to the Magellan Member sign-in page at: MagellanHealth.com/Member. Create your user ID, then go to the LifeMart Discount Center under WorkLife Benefits to find these special offers. Click on Tax Prep on the discount center page to access available discount options.
Check Your Tax Preparation Work
The IRS recommends that you take the time to double (and even triple) check your calculations. This will help you avoid common tax return mistakes.
Accessible 24/7, your FAA WorkLife Solutions Program offers many resources and services to help you and your family. Through the Lifemart® discount center, you have access to discounts and offerings on day-to-day items, including income tax discounts. Additional options available through the program include concierge services to help with everyday events needing your time and attention, child and elder care options, legal and financial services, in-person counseling, and much more. Call your program at 1-800-234-1327, TTY Users: 1-800-456-4006, or log on to MagellanHealth.com/Member to begin accessing these services today.
Sources: Internal Revenue Service, H&R Block, MyFreeTaxes.