Haven’t Filed Your Tax Return Yet? It’s Time to Request an Extension

Posted by Derek M. Backa, CPA, CVA on Apr 9, 2018 4:04:11 PM

“When it comes to taxes, there are two types of people.  There are those that get it done early, also known as psychopaths, and then the rest of us.” – Jimmy Kimmel

I can’t say that we (CPAs) agree with Jimmy Kimmel’s sentiment that those of you that file early are psychopaths.  I like to think of early filers as our best friends.  Then again, perhaps only psychopaths want to be best friends with their CPA. Maybe Jimmy is onto something after all. Regardless, for those of you who did not file early, there are a few things you should know.

First and foremost, we’ll still be your friend.

Second, if you haven’t filed yet, it’s time to request an extension. 

If your CPA is filing for you, you’ll need to send whatever information you have in ASAP.  Don’t worry if you're missing documents.  

Your CPA will use the information you have available to draft your estimated tax return.  If they’re unable to file your return by the due date (which is highly likely at this stage), they’ll need your permission to request an extension. 

Your CPA needs all the information you have in order to extend your return.  This is because all taxes must be paid with the extension to avoid penalties and interest.  Hence, it’s important that your CPA has the estimated tax return and any estimated liability calculated as accurately as possible with the tax data you have available.

If you’re filing your own return and requesting your own extension.

  1. You'll need to estimate your tax liability and submit your estimated payment by the due date (April 17, 2018). 
    1. You can do this here.

Tips for gathering all that you need to file form 4868 or else have your CPA file it for you:

  • Use an organizer.
    • If you have a CPA filing your return for you, chances are they provided an organizer for you. 
    • If you’re filing your own return you can find an organizer here.
  • Collect all your tax documents in one place, while filling out the organizer try to organize your supporting documents accordingly.  
  • Make a list of any missing documents.  Looking over your return from last year can help you figure out what documents you might be missing.  
  • Keep in mind any major changes you experienced throughout the year (i.e. if you moved, had a child, got divorced, sold some stock, etc). 
  • The more organized you are the easier it will be and the less likely any mistakes will be made.
  • Remember that filing an extension does not extend the due date of your tax payment.  You're still required to pay your tax liability by April 17 in order to avoid penalties and interest.
  • If you are required to pay quarterly estimates, it is wise to include your current year first quarter payment with the extension payment.  Once the return is filed you can apply the overpayment to the current year, and the larger extension payment safeguards that you have enough paid in on time.

There are some compelling reasons why you should try to file earlier next year.

  1. Last-minute filers make more mistakes.
    1. Mistakes caught before April 17th aren't so much of a problem. 
    2. Since, however, you're a last-minute filer chances are any mistakes made on your return won't be caught before April 17th.  Mistakes caught after April 17 require an amended tax return to remedy them.
    3. Any mistakes that mean the filer owes more taxes than they already paid can lead to the IRS charging interest and penalties from the due date of the return until the full amount is paid. 
  2. Due to the pressure of getting everything in last-minute, late tax filers often miss out on deductions such as student loan interest, moving expenses, property taxes, noncash charitable contributions, etc.  Thus missing out on higher refunds or lower taxes owed.
  3. The sooner you file your return, the sooner you receive your refund. Who doesn’t want to have more money sooner rather than later?  More importantly, however, the sooner you get your refund, the sooner your refund is safe from identity theft.  The IRS blocked nearly 5 million suspicious returns in 2015 and in 2016 phishing and email-based scams had increased 400%.  

Maybe being best friends with your CPA isn't such a crazy idea after all?

Stay tuned after tax season, we'll be posting some tips on how to avoid last-minute filing next year so that this process can be at least a little less stressful hopefully. 

Read More

Topics: Tax, Tax Return Extension

QuickBooks Tips | Going Mobile

Posted by Lauri A. Lisanti, CPA, MAcc, CPS, Certified QB ProAdvisor on Mar 26, 2018 2:38:08 PM

With the increased usage of smartphones and tablets, many clients ask if they can use QuickBooks on their mobile devices such as a smartphone and tablet. The answer is yes; however, it does depend on which version of QuickBooks the client is using.

Read More

Topics: QuickBooks Expert, Quickbooks Tips

Social Security: Answers To 5 Common Questions

Posted by Derek M. Backa, CPA, CVA on Mar 12, 2018 4:26:17 PM

In 1935, Social Security was signed into law as part of President FDR's "New Deal" response to the Great Depression. This was the first time the Federal Government took responsibility for economic security of the old-aged, temporarily unemployed, children, and handicapped. Over 80 years later and social security has become an integral part of the retirement process.

Read More

Topics: Social Security, Retirement

QuickBooks Tips | Transferring Data to Your Accountant

Posted by Lauri A. Lisanti, CPA, MAcc, CPS, Certified QB ProAdvisor on Feb 27, 2018 2:17:18 PM

What is the best way to send my accounting data to my accountant so that they can prepare my tax return?

The answer is not the same for every client. Clients often send a copy of their financial statements without realizing that it's insufficient. From the accountant’s perspective, it is much more efficient to have a copy of clients' QuickBooks file so that the information needed is right at their fingertips.

Read More

Topics: Advice from a Certified QuickBooks Proadvisor, QuickBooks Expert, Quickbooks Tips

What is the difference between an audit and a review engagement?

Posted by Jenny H. Shao on Feb 12, 2018 3:50:43 PM

Nonprofits, construction companies, or companies with external investors are all examples of companies that may be required to get audits. However, these requirements may be dependent on certain circumstances. For instance, a nonprofit that recently reached a higher level of government funding may have crossed the audit requirement threshold. That said, there are many nuances involved in determining whether a switch to or from a review to an audit would be necessary. Regardless, companies do experience this transition and the following information is aimed at determining the difference between the two.

Read More

Topics: Audit & Assurance, Audits Vs. Reviews

Tis the season for Giving | Deductible vs. Nondeductible Contributions and their limits.

Posted by Julia E. Backa, MSBM on Dec 18, 2017 8:31:00 PM

Not everyone thinks the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. The Huffington Post, CBS News, Harvard Medical School, HealthLine, etc. all have articles regarding the causes, and tips for coping with the holiday blues. Stress caused by finances, lack of time, and high expectations is mentioned as a frequent contributing factor. To cope a few sources recommend starting a new tradition involving volunteering and making charitable contributions. Perhaps this is because both volunteering and donating to charity have been found to increase happiness.

To do our part in spreading holiday cheer, we not only want to join the bandwagon in encouraging others to donate and volunteer, we want to help those that do, better understand the ins and outs of deductible vs. nondeductible contributions and the limitations on charitable contributions.

Read More

Topics: Deductible Contributions, Charitable Contributions, Tax

How to Pass the CPA Exam | Do's and Don'ts

Posted by Haylie Parkhill on Dec 4, 2017 4:05:00 PM

Congratulations you’ve decided to take the plunge and start studying for the CPA exam. Successfully completing the CPA exam can seem like a daunting task, especially with the publically posted (low) pass rates. However, the end result is well worth all the time, struggles and sleepless nights. Earning a CPA designation should result in higher earnings potential and additional career opportunities.

Read More

Topics: The CPA Exam, Studying Accounting

How to Prepare for an Audit | GBACO's Essential Tips

Posted by Stephanie D. Wright, CPA on Nov 20, 2017 2:38:11 PM


2018 is fast approaching and with it comes busy season for auditors. If your company is subject to an audit (as of and for the year ending December 31, 2017) this means it is time to start preparing.  

Companies need audits for a variety of purposes and the accounting personnel of auditees vary in size, background, and experience. Suppose you are the owner of a construction company that's subject to an external audit for insurance purposes. Maybe you are the internal accountant of a larger company. Whatever the reason for your audit, or the position you hold, sometimes it can difficult to know how to best prepare for your audit.

If you are in charge of communicating with your external auditors, we advise that you review the following. Ask yourself if any of the tips below are applicable to you.  Being prepared will not only reduce the headache involved with finding the answers to your auditors' questions, but will also reduce the overall cost of your audit by increasing your auditors' efficiency. 

Read More

Topics: Audit & Assurance, Tips for Preparing for an Audit

Federal and PA Tax Exempt Filing Requirements | Form 990 series and BCO-10

Posted by Patrick M. Rossiter on Nov 7, 2017 1:08:00 PM

Despite tax-exemption, nonprofit organizations are still subject to reporting requirements with taxing authorities, namely the Internal Revenue Service and various state revenue departments. For the Boards and Executive Directors of nonprofits, this means it's important to have a clear understanding of their organization and where it falls within filing requirements. 

Read More

Topics: Nonprofit Filing Requirements, PA Nonprofit Filing Requirements, Form 990

QuickBooks Tips | Managing Cash Flow Using the Vendor Center

Posted by Lauri A. Lisanti, CPA, MAcc, CPS, Certified QB ProAdvisor on Oct 23, 2017 5:26:40 PM
Accounts payable is the outstanding bills a business owes money on. In many small businesses, the person who is responsible for paying these bills, will write out the checks as the bills come in or at predefined intervals (once a week, twice a month or even monthly).
Which is an acceptable practice. However, this can inhibit the business owner from having an accurate picture of the business's cash flow without calculating it manually or sorting through a large pile of papers. QuickBooks' accounts payable module, allows businesses to maintain their cash flow without the clutter or risk of not paying the bills on time. This also minimizes any surprises and the chance of affecting the business’ credit report adversely.
Read More

Topics: Certified QuickBooks Proadvisor, Quickbooks Tips, Bookkeeping

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts