Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines: the dreaded word. Whether it’s making sure your dry cleaning arrives before the cut off time for same day service or using a coupon before it expires, we all have deadlines… and we all probably dislike them. Perhaps most of all – tax deadlines.
“Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.” -Rick Riordan, best-selling young adult author
Some deadlines don’t matter much; believe me, I have driven around with dry cleaning in my car for a week. But some really do matter and can land you in hot water — think Wesley Snipes kind of trouble. Or Nicolas Cage, Boris Becker, Heidi Fleiss kind of trouble.
That’s right: paying your taxes. Here’s the upcoming April 2019 tax deadlines you can’t put off or forget about.
April 2019 tax deadlines you can’t miss
- The BIG ONE: File your taxes by April 15th or ask for an extension, but still pay if you need to. The 2019 tax filing deadline is April 15th — unless you live in Maine or Massachusetts — where it’s April 17th. Filing after the deadline can cost you. TheIRS can assess a penalty up to 25% of the unpaid taxes. If your return is more than 60 days late, the IRS can load on a tax penalty of $210 or 100% of the taxes you owe, whichever is less. Don’t be like Annie Leibovitz. Or Wesley. Or Nic.
- If you have income that isn’t subject to payroll withholding taxes (such as an independent contractor would have) or someone with investment earnings, the IRS requires quarterly estimated tax payments. The April 15th annual deadline is the first due date for affected 2018 earnings.
- If you failed to file in 2015 and were due a refund (yes, 2015) then April 15, 2019 is the deadline to submit that old Form 1040 and claim your funds. Apparently, Wesley wasn’t due a refund. Anyway, the IRS kept more than $1 billion in 2018 in unclaimed funds for taxpayers who hadn’t filed their 2014 returns. That’s a mystery to me… why would anyone due a refund not file?
- April 15 is usually the state tax filing deadline, for those of you who live in states in which you are required to pay state taxes.
- Fund your IRA or ROTH. You may be able to make a $5,500 contribution to your Traditional IRA or ROTH that can be applied to the 2018 tax year. If you are over age 50, you may make a $6,500 contribution. In some cases, your traditional IRA contribution may be deductible. Even if it is not, you can still maximize your retirement account’s growth. Consult a financial advisor to set up your account, or seek out tax planning services if you need advice on how it might impact your taxes.
- The deadline for putting money in a Health Savings Account is also April 15. This type of “medical” account is available to individuals who have a high-deductible health plan. It can provide a tax-saving way to pay for out-of-pocket expenses. The 2018 limits are $3,450 for an individual HSA owner and $6,900 for a family.
- If you live in one of the 34 states that offer a state income tax deduction for 529 College Savings Plans, you also may have a deadline. If you have grandparents, your grandparents can claim the deduction for the contribution. The thing to check into is whether the grandparent must own the account — or whether they can contribute to one set up by the child’s parents. There are a bunch of other rules associated with this strategy as well, so make sure you talk about it with a tax advisor*. Each state may have different rules on 529 contributions.
How to prepare for tax deadlines
If you are a procrastinator and have a hard time with deadlines, don’t sweat it. Just remember to take your deadlines seriously and you’ll be OK. Here’s some tips, besides catching your breath when you get that tax bill:
First, schedule reasonable deadlines – yes, the IRS does think April 15th is reasonable. Then, communicate those deadlines. Finally, don’t wait until tomorrow. Just start the process, prioritize and get it finished! (Lest you end up missing a tour bus and being forced to sell albums to pay your tax bill, like Willie Nelson back in the 90’s.)
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” -Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“Oh no, not again!” -Me
*Please be advised that Ms. Marotz is not a CPA, and that a tax advisor should always be consulted.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.