Last-Minute Tax Tips to Know Before You File



It’s time to file your tax return! Before you do, though, read through our list of last-minute tax tips. 

Consider filing electronically

The IRS e-file is available to all taxpayers, and many people can file electronically at no cost. 

Get started here

Re-check your Social Security numbers 

Make sure every Social Security number on your return, including your own, your partner’s and each of your dependent’s, is correctly listedCheck that the SSNs related to claims for Child and Dependent Care Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit are accurate as well. 

Don’t forget any deductions

Here are some of the deductions people often forget to take: 

  • The home office deduction. 
  • Out-of-pocket charitable contributions, such as the cost of meal prep for the help you do at a soup kitchen or gas used while driving to a charity drop off. 
  • Student loan interest you’ve paid, or that someone has paid on your behalf. 

Claim the full Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

The American Rescue Plan increases the Child and Dependent Care Credit and makes it fully refundable. The changes to the Child and Dependent Care Credit that apply only for tax year 2021 include:

  • The highest credit percentage increased to 50% of qualifying expenses.
  • Qualifying child and dependent care expenses increased from $3,000 to $8,000 for one qualifying dependent, and from $6,000 to $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals.
  • The adjusted gross income (AGI) level at which the credit percentage starts being reduced increased to $125,000.

Double-check your figures

If you are filing a paper return, double-check that you have correctly calculated the refund or balance due. 

Get your return in on time

If you won’t be ready to file your return by April 18, you’ll need to request an extension. It’s important to note, though, that an extension to file does not include an extension for payment. 

Sign your form

Don’t forget to sign and date your form, and to also have your partner sign if you’re filing jointly. If you’ve hired someone to prepare your return, have the preparer sign the form and enter their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). 

It’s tax time! Use the tips outlined here to maximize your refund and ensure there are no mistakes on your tax return.