I had the great privilege in receiving my first education about the completely ridiculous US Tax Code via J.K Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2013. The book is like an encyclopedia and tells you everything from writing off medical expenses to loss from theft (If your friend swindles you out of a cool $2 million you can write that off). Actually if you do your own taxes and have the interest or time then the book is certainly worth it. I actually found myself surprised at just how many different activities were tax deductible.
5 Reasons why you should do your own taxes.
1. If you plan smartly you can save a ton of money.
2. Nobody knows your activities better than you. Who knows if your accountant is working the tax code in the most efficient way?
3. Learning about the tax code is sexy. You’ll be able to impress the ladies at the hotel bar with your knowledge of Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
4. Invoke Hatred and disgust in the federal government’s waste, do further research and leave the two party platform. Become a libertarian and in the process raise your IQ score 20 points.
5. It’s better than ending up like Wesley Snipes: super successful and having your 50th Birthday in a box courtesy of the “land of the free and home of the brave.”
Income Tax Filing Deadlines
Excerpted from J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return
January 15, 2013 – Pay the balance of your 2012 estimated tax. If you do not meet this date, you may avoid an estimated tax penalty for the last quarter by filing your 2012 return and paying the balance due by January 31,2013.
Farmers and fishermen: File your single 2012 estimated tax payment by this date. If you do not, you may still avoid an estimated tax penalty by filing a final tax return and paying the full tax by March 1, 2013.
January 31, 2013 – Make sure you have received a Form W-2 from each employer for whom you worked in 2012.
April 15, 2013 – File your 2012 tax return and pay the balance of your tax. If you cannot meet the April 15 deadline, you may obtain an automatic six-month filing extension by filing Form 4868 (on paper or electronically). However, even if you get an extension, interest will still be charged for taxes not paid by April 15, and late payment penalties will be imposed unless at least 90% of your tax liability is paid by this date or you otherwise show reasonable cause. If you cannot pay the full amount of tax you owe when you file your return, you can file Form 9465 to request an installment payment arrangement.
If on this date you are a U.S. citizen or resident living and working outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or in military service outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, you have an automatic two-month filing extension until June 17, 2013.
Pay the first installment of your 2013 estimated tax by this date.
June 17, 2013 – Pay the second installment of your 2013 estimated tax. You may amend your estimate at this time.
If on April 15 you were a U.S. citizen or resident living and working outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or in military service outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, file your 2012 return and pay the balance due. You may obtain an additional four-month filing extension until October 15, 2013, by filing Form 4868.
If you are a nonresident alien who did not have tax withheld from your wages, file Form 1040NR by this date and pay the balance due.
September 16, 2013 – Pay the third installment of your 2013 estimated tax. You may amend your estimate at this time.
October 15, 2013 – File your 2012 return if you received an automatic six-month filing extension using Form 4868. Also file your 2012 return and pay the balance due if on April 15 you were a U.S. citizen or resident living and working outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or in military service outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, and by June 17 you qualified for an additional four-month extension by filing Form 4868.
December 31, 2013 – If self-employed, this is the last day to set up a Keogh plan for 2013.
January 15, 2014 – Pay the balance of your 2013 estimated tax.
April 15, 2014 – File your 2013 return and pay the balance of your tax. Pay the first installment of your 2014 estimated tax by this date.
15th day of the 4th month after the fiscal year ends – File your fiscal year return and pay the balance of the tax due. If you cannot meet the filing deadline, apply for an automatic four-month filing extension on Form 4868.
Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Wiley, from J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return. Copyright © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved. This book is available at all book sellers.
Barbara Weltman, J.K. Lasser’s spokesperson, is an experienced media professional, ready to lend her expertise to print, online, and broadcast segments and is available for interviews and year-end tax questions. Barbara was recently named among the List of 100 Small Business Influencers for 2012, among many other major honors. She also hosts the radio show “Build Your Business” on www.wsradio.com. She is a key member of the J.K. Lasser Institute team of editors & writers, and has contributed to dozens of best-selling business books.
About J.K. Lasser Institute:
J.K. Lasser Institute has been the premier publisher of consumer tax guides since 1939, when Jacob Kay Lasser first published Your Income Tax. Since then, the guide has been published continuously for over seventy years and read by over 39,000,000 people. The J.K. Lasser Institute also publishes several personal finance books, including Small Business Taxes, Home Owner’s Tax Breaks, 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks, Year-Round Tax Planning, and more. J.K. Lasser Institute spokespeople are regularly sought after as media tax experts. They regularly appear on such broadcast programs as CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg TV. They are also often featured in numerous periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Self Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek and Reader’s Digest.