Tax Deadline Moved To April 18, 2011
The Tax Season is upon us and whether your income-type is W-2, 1099, or something else with lots of schedules, it helps to know for which deductions you may be eligible, and some key changes in the 2010 filing process.
Tax Filing Deadline Extended Past April 15, 2011
Most years, federal income taxes are due April 15. The deadline date is so common, in fact, that “April 15” has become synonymous with “tax deadlines”. This year, however, taxes are not due April 15.
It’s because of Emancipation Day, a public holiday observed in Washington, D.C since 2005.
Meanwhile, law states that District of Columbia holidays must impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do, so, because the IRS is closed April 15, federal income taxes cannot be due until the following Monday — April 18, 2011. Many states are following the federal government’s lead, too; extending tax deadlines to April 18.
2011 marks the second time in its 6 years that Emancipation Day has changed tax deadlines.
In an un-related coincidence, taxpayers filing an extension this year will also have a few extra days. Because October 15, 2011 is a Saturday, the taxpayer extension due date pushes to the following Monday — October 17, 2011.
IRS : “Certain Taxpayers Can’t File Until We Say So”
The IRS is open for business, so to speak, but not everyone is permitted to file their taxes just yet. This is because Congress enacted tax law changes during the last two weeks of 2010, and the Internal Revenue Service hasn’t had time to update its systems just yet.
As a result, 3 specific taxpayer types are barred from filing tax returns until mid- to late-February, or until such time as the IRS says its systems are ready.
Those 3 groups are:
- Taxpayers itemizing deductions via Schedule A. People claiming mortgage interest, charitable donations, and/or state and local taxes on their federal returns can’t file yet.
- Taxpayers claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees deduction. If you plan to submit Form 8917 to the IRS, therefore, you must wait to file.
- Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. This applies to school teachers from K-12 with out-of-pocket classroom expenditures.
If you’re a homeowner, therefore, it’s likely you’re on delay. The IRS will let you prepare your tax returns — you just can’t file them. And along with the changes, the IRS is recommend that all taxpayers use the e-File system to ensure accurate tax returns and faster tax refunds. One way to e-File is to prepare your taxes online.
Companies like TurboTax will actually let you file your federal taxes online — free.
Estimate Your 2010 Tax Refund Right Now
Another neat thing about income tax software is that it can estimate what your 2010 tax refund will be with remarkable precision. With just a few pieces of information (i.e. marital status; age; household income), the software reviews your basic deductions versus what you’ve paid the government already, and uses it to project your eventual refund.
Note that online software should not be considered a tax filing substitute, nor should a taxpayer spend or invest his projected estimate before it’s paid by the U.S. treasury. However, when provided with reliable tax information, refund estimators are usually spot-on.
Use TaxCaster to estimate 2010 tax refunds. It’s another free tax tool.
Taxes : Do-It-Yourself Or Pay A Professional?
A good friend of mine says you’re going to pay for your taxes one way or other, so you should probably hire a professional. That’s good advice, but I can’t make you take it. In fact, I’m assuming you won’t. That’s why the links in this article point to TurboTax products. TurboTax is an excellent product that happens to pay affiliate commissions on sales. I support it, however, because the TurboTax company has a long history, a solid support center, and a rock-strong guarantee.
Prepare, print and e-file your simple return with TurboTax® Federal Free Edition.