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The Jungle Books – Your Tax Day Preparation

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 13, 2012 in Lessons Learned

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It’s Friday the 13th of April, 2012! Whether you are superstitious or not, this day might be considered lucky or unlucky since it would generally be two days before you were required to file your federal tax return for last year. However, because of a combination of the calendar, a holiday, and tax law, Tax Day 2012 is delayed until Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

Why is this? First, April 15 is a Sunday and all federal offices are traditionally closed on Sundays. This means that taxes can’t be filed on April 15, as regularly scheduled. Rather, the tax due date should roll over to the first available business day — Monday.

However, this year Monday happens to be April 16, Emancipation Day, a holiday local to the District of Columbia that has impact nationwide. Since 2005, Emancipation Day has remembered President Abraham Lincoln’s April 16, 1862, signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed the city’s 3,128 slaves. In honor of this day, Washington, D.C.’s governmental institutions are closed.

And federal law gives taxpayers the gift of an extra day … Tax Day rolls over to the next business day, Tuesday, April 17. (Please note that you may have tax forms that say they are due April 16. They were printed before the IRS realized the Emancipation Day conflict.)

Despite the 2-day change, as a reminder, the deadline to file a federal tax return with extension has not changed. That filing date remains October 15, 2012. 

Remember, state filing deadlines vary by state but most states have chosen to mirror the IRS’ tax deadlines this year even though Emancipation Day is specific to Washington, D.C. Be sure to check with your accountant to confirm your local filing deadlines.

Having said all of that now might be a good time to start thinking about making this whole process a little easier on yourself for next year with some pre-tax planning organization and preparation. For those who have had multiple jobs or less income because of the economy, your tax return could mean a huge difference so being prepared is the best thing you can do.

First, get your yearly information to your accountant as soon as you can in January/February.  Many people wait until the last minute before the deadline and then file an extension when, with just a little pre-planning, you can have all your information organized in advance and be nearly done before the New Years Eve ball drops on Times Square. More to celebrate!

Second, don’t just dump your receipts in a box and expect your accountant to figure out what they are all for, particularly if you are a habitual last minute filer.  Using one credit card for business expenses is a great way to keep things more organized but you need to take one step further and allocate those costs to supplies, entertainment, office equipment purchases, etc. Doing so each month when you are reviewing your credit card bill can help ensure the chore is not so large when it comes time to file your return.

Thirdly, seek out your accountant’s expertise and ask for tax planning advice. Your accountant is a valuable resource and can assist you throughout the year with ways to maximize deductions on certain items if you consult them in advance.

Remember these tax tips and good luck Jungle Adventurers on Friday the 13th!

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