5 Mistakes You Might Be Making When You File Your Taxes
Good news: The tax-filing deadline is actually April 18 this year. That means you have three extra days to comb through your W-2s and receipts. A reason to use that time wisely: Tax-filing mistakes happen to the best of us. That’s why we checked in with Priya Malani over at financial planning firm StashWealth to get the lowdown on the most common ones.
You Decided Against Hiring a Pro
TurboTax can only take you so far. Say your company offers stock options or you went through a major life change (like an inheritance—or a divorce). Your filing is inherently more complicated. Sure, it may cost a little more, but if a tax pro can alert you to potential savings you wouldn’t have noticed yourself, you’ll still come out ahead.
And Didn't Take the Time to Organize Your Receipts
If you’re serious about maximizing your refund, first thing’s first: You’ve got to pull together all your receipts. For example: The airfare for that business trip to Houston you had to take but couldn’t expense. Or a record of that French class you enrolled in to improve your job prospects. Before you do anything else, make a checklist (or download one online) of the paperwork you’ll need to properly file, then work backward from there.
You Made a Clerical Error
Yay, you got married (and changed your last name) in 2016. Congrats. But don’t fall victim to one of the most common tax mistakes: Forgetting to put your new—legal—married name on the forms.
And Forgot to Mention You Occasionally Work From Home
Freelancers, this means you. You’ll likely be eligible to deduct a portion of your rent as a business expense if you log a ton of side-hustle hours at home. Other freelance expenses you can write off partially or in full: cable, Internet, your laptop, your iPhone, work supplies. The trick is to always (always) keep meticulous track.
You Missed a Couple More No-Brainer Deductions
If you do anything on company time that’s for the company but isn’t reimbursed, it’s deductible. If you’re paying off student loans and your income is below a certain threshold (about $80K), the interest is deductible up to $2,500. The point: Take the time to familiarize yourself with all the write-offs so you maximize the value of the refund you get back.
Got more tax-related conundrums? PureWow is partnering with the personal finance experts at Yahoo to bring you an exclusive Facebook Live segment next week dedicated to all things Tax Day. Send your burning questions to email@example.com. Then, tune in to the PureWow Facebook page at 3pm on April 5 to hear them answered.