#1 Finish Your Taxes
For 2016 the deadline to submit your tax return is April 18th. The reason for this is that typically Washington, D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16th, the day President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill ending slavery in Washington, D.C. This year, however, the 16th falls on Saturday, so Emancipation day is being celebrated on April 15th and the tax filing deadline is pushed to April 18th.
Nevertheless, by April you should have your tax return completed. If not, and you can’t make the deadline for filing, April 18th is also the deadline for filing a six month extension Just keep in mind, if you owe money you will still need to pay your taxes by April 18th even if you file for an extension.
#2 Update Your W-4 Withholding
Once you’ve completed your tax return you may need to update your withholding allowance on your W-4. What’s your withholding allowance? According to Investopedia it is “the employee-claimed exemptions on the tax form W-4 that employers use to determine how much of an employee’s pay to subtract from his or her paycheck to remit to the tax authorities 1.” The more allowances you claim, the less income tax will be withheld from your paycheck.
How do you know if you need to update your withholding allowances? Well, are you getting money back? Do you owe any money? Either way if those are large numbers you should consider changing the number of allowances you are claiming on your W-4. Speak to your tax preparer to help you figure out what changes you should make.
#3 Spring Cleaning
It’s great that Spring and Taxes go hand in hand because it gives you the opportunity to purge once you’ve completed your return. You’ll want to shred documents you no longer need and file those you do. Better yet, start using an online filing system like FileThis to help you automatically aggregate all your electronic documents. This way you don’t have to deal with paper at all!
Wondering how long you need to keep your documents? Here’s the basic rule: Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. For more details on how long to keep your documents, read this post on the IRS website.
For more financial planning tips, download my free report: “8 Steps to Organize and Optimize Your Financial Life”. Thanks for reading!