If you’re among the few non-procrastinators out there in the St. Petersburg-Tampa area, you’ve already gathered up your tax documents, receipts and records, loaded them into an empty Amazon.com box, dropped them off at your accountant’s office and are now awaiting the good, or not so good news. Congratulations! You’ve effectively avoided the last minute pressure, and the feelings of guilt that comes with being an LMF, Last Minute Filer. (Remember, if your tax situation is at all complex, hiring an accountant is a very good decision.)
But for those of you LMFers out there who are still trying to recall where your receipts are, need we remind you that the last day to file your taxes without incurring a penalty is Monday, April 15, as it’s been since 1955?
April 15 is also deadline day for a couple of other items you need to tidy up:
- If you maintain a traditional or Roth IRA, you must make your 2012 contributions by April 15.
- If you’re among the lucky ones required to make quarterly payments, the first one due for 2013 must also be paid by April 15, 2012.
If you’re a resident of the State of Florida, congratulations, there is no state income tax so you don’t have to worry about that form. But if you need assistance here are a couple of places to go: IRS phone helpline, IRS help online, and FAQ’s.
If you’re preparing your own taxes, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- You can deduct state, local or foreign real estate taxes levied for the general public welfare, as long as they are based on the assessed value of the real property of which you are the owner.
- You can deduct estimated tax payments you made during the year.
- You can either take a deduction or a credit for income taxes imposed on you by a foreign country or a U.S. possession. However, there are some exceptions, so check with your tax professional or read the instructions carefully.
- If you bought or sold real estate during 2012, the real estate taxes must be divided between the buyer and the seller according to the number of days in the real property tax year that each party owned the property.
- You cannot deduct itemized charges for services (i.e. trash and garbage pickup fees), transfer taxes (or stamp taxes), rent increases due to higher real estate taxes, and homeowners’ association charges.
These are just a few of the many items you need to be mindful of as you’re preparing your taxes.
Whatever your income level, everyone’s income and tax situation is different. Our advice is to seek the guidance of your tax professional to maximize your return or minimize what you owe.