Answers to 3 Common Tax Questions

Most people find taxes to be confusing. Fortunately, you’ve still got time to sort out all your questions.

And we can help. Here are three of the most commonly asked questions:

When do I have to file my return?

If you’re eagerly anticipating a refund, or just want to get the task out of the way as soon as possible, you can file your tax return beginning in late January (this year the date is Jan. 27). There are excellent reasons to file your taxes sooner rather than later, including minimizing the chances that a scammer will fraudulently claim your refund.

However, the final deadline to file this year is Wednesday, April 15. If you can’t make the deadline, be sure to file for an extension (here are details) to avoid penalty and interest charges.

Whom can I claim as a dependent?

You can claim as a dependent pretty much anyone you financially support who makes little themselves, including — but not limited to — your kids and parents. Doing so provides you with deductions that reduce your taxable income.

IRS Publication 929 spells out the details.

Who can skip filing a return?

If you didn’t make a lot of money, you may not have to file. TurboTax offers a nice rundown of how that works and who qualifies.

Of course, you can also go to the IRS website for answers. It has everything you need to know. But many of us are overwhelmed by the details. That’s why Money Talks News has published — and will continue to roll out — tax stories that boil it down, including this one on how to get expert help filing a return.

Do you have any tips for making tax time less crazy? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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