If you find yourself stressing over the approaching deadline, you can take a little breather. This year, you have until Monday, April 18 to file your federal and state tax returns.
The extension exists because Emancipation Day, a little holiday observed in D.C., happens on April 15 this year. This also affects taxpayers requesting an extension. If this is you, then you will have until October 17 to file your return.
Don't let the extension lull you into a false sense of security, though. It is still a good idea to start preparing to e-file your taxes, just in case something unforeseen happens. What if you get halfway through and realize you've misplaced a W2 tax form? Or what if you just got married to someone who has been living in a different state than you have and you want to file a joint return – and you can't because of the residency issue? These are the kinds of things that people often discover at the last minute – and you don't want that last minute to be April 18.
In addition, taking your time can keep you from making mistakes on your tax return that could cost you part or all of your income tax refund. You don't want to miss out on getting back a refund you could have had, all because you rushed through your tax return.
These are the kinds of things you will need to figure in to your tax preparation time budget, so give yourself a break, keep your peace of mind, and get started now. Take your time and find that missing W2 tax form, arrange your dependent issues or find out what to do about your residency and filing status. You should also remember that, the earlier you e-file your federal and state taxes, the sooner you will receive your income tax refund.