Harris: March Into finalizing your preparation for tax-filing season

By: Charlestien Harris

The month of March is considered mid-season for tax filing. If you haven’t started the process of getting your taxes prepared and you don’t plan to prepare them yourself, then you only have a few weeks left! This year, the federal and state tax filing deadline is April 18th, 2023, provided you have not been granted an extension. It is important to begin gathering the information you need to file. Are you unsure about what all you need? No worries, I have a few suggestions that will make your preparation process easier, whether you have a preparer or plan to do them yourself.

  1. Decide Who Will File Your Taxes

If you plan to prepare your own taxes, there are several free tax preparation programs for you to choose from. If you have a simple return and an annual earned income of $60,000 or less, visit our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partner myfreetaxes.com. You can also find additional resources at IRS Free File. This program is free and offers guided tax preparation online. IRS Free File is a public and private partnership that is available to taxpayers with an annual adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less.

If you don’t have a tax preparer, a good way to find one is to ask for trusted and reliable referrals. Be sure the person you choose has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The PTIN ensures that they are authorized to prepare federal income tax returns.

 Southern Bancorp is a VITA site and can prepare individual income taxes for persons with $60,000 or less income free of charge. Check with the branch nearest you for more details about the days and times of the hours of operation of the tax preparation service. The last day to have your taxes prepared by select Southern Bancorp branches is April 13th, 2023.

  1. Gather all Necessary Documents to Complete Your Return

This is a very important step in the process! Before you take your information to the chosen preparer, make very sure you have all the necessary documents and information required to complete the process of filing your current taxes.

If you are missing certain tax documents, you may order a tax return transcript and/or a tax account transcript using Get Transcript by Mail or call 800-908-9946. Allow 5 to 10 business days for delivery. You may also submit the IRS Form 4506-T. In the event that you had missing information, you can file a  1040X, which is an amended tax form. Having to file an amended return will delay any refund or possibly add additional interest to any amount you may owe.

  1. File for an Extension Only When Necessary

Filing for an extension will only give you more time to file. If you owe any taxes, they are still due April 18th. You will be charged interest and penalties by the IRS if you owe a tax bill. An extension must be filed by midnight on April 18, 2023, and you will have until October 16, 2023, to finish and file your 2022 tax return. The IRS 4868 is the form number you need to get your extension request into the IRS. 

Common reasons for requesting an extension may include:

  • Lack of organization, such as losing a W-2, 
  • Didn’t receive an anticipated tax document
  • An unexpected life events such as death, 
  • A natural disaster, or a fire

Even if you obtain an extension to file, you must still pay your income tax in full by the tax deadline.

  1. Last Minute Tax Filers Should E-file

If you’re still working on your tax return, e-filing may help you to complete your return accurately and in a timely manner. E-filing is faster, and it can be easier and more accurate than filing a paper return.

E-filing makes compliance with reporting and disclosure requirements easier by:

  • Eliminating the need to make copies
  • Assembling all the appropriate schedules and attachments
  • Saving money instead of paying for postage or printing (if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person)

If you have already completed your 2022 tax return, you are way ahead of the game. If you have not, then you might want to consider starting earlier next year so you won’t fall behind when it comes to filing your taxes. 

Filing taxes can be a daunting task if you let it, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the suggested steps, I mentioned above, you should be well on your way to getting your taxes filed accurately and on time for the next tax season! 

For more information on this and other financial topics, you can visit our website at www.banksouthern.com/blog. If you have any additional questions, feel free to email me at Charlestien.harris@banksouthern.com or call me at 662-624-5776. Until next week—stay financially fit!

Charlestien Harris is a financial contributor to DeSoto County News. She is a financial expert with Southern Bancorp Community Partners whose articles are seen in a number of publications around the region. You’ll be seeing her columns weekly on the DeSoto County News website and our social media channels.

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob is also heard on 95.3 The Rebel twice a week with sports updates and high school football play-by-play broadcasts in the fall. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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