Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tax Day Is April 18 In 2016 & Here Are Some Services You Can Still Use To Make The Deadline

Hire A Professional (And Maybe File An Extension)

If you have more complex taxes — say, you’re a freelancer/self-employed, or you’re earning income in multiple countries, or you have complicated investments — you may best off hiring a tax professional to do your taxes. There are different types of tax people out there. An enrolled agent is a tax professional who has been licensed by the IRS, either through taking an exam or working for the IRS for five years; these people’s whole job revolves around taxes. A certified public accountant (CPA), in contrast, is a finance professional who has been certified by the state; not all CPAs specialize in taxes, so you’ll want to ask about your CPA’s experience with taxes if you’re thinking about hiring one. You can also go to a tax chains like H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt, though Tobie Stanger at Consumer Reports suggests that these chains are best for “simple, straightforward returns”; if you have complicated taxes, you may want to look elsewhere. To get you started, the IRS website has a database for e-file Providers, where you can find professionals near your zip code.

When hiring a tax professional, you want to be able to do your homework and find someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable — which, I realize, might be a tall order when you only have a few days before Tax Day. If you know of a good professional already, or a trusted friend or family member has a solid recommendation for one, then reach out to see if he or she can help you with your taxes before April 18. If you simply don’t feel like you can do your taxes on your own, and you need more time to find the right professional to do them for you, you can file for an extension on your taxes that will extend your tax deadline to October 17. It’s important to note, however, that although the extension shifts the deadline for filing your tax return, your actual taxes are still due April 18 — so if you owe money and don’t include a payment with your extension form, you can start accruing interest and late penalties on the taxes that you owe.