There are two important days every year in terms of personal finance. December 31 is the official year end and it closes the door for many (although not all) deductions and tax tactics. The other is April 15, the tax filing deadline. If you haven't filed your tax yet, you have two options: either you can attempting to put all stuff together and praying that it makes tax sense, or you can apply for a tax filing extension, which will be automatically granted and gives you four more months to prepare your tax return.
I've decided to take the latter option.
It may sound ironic for a person like me, who diligently manages personal finance like a sizable business (not many businesses publish external monthly reports :-)), to be unable to finalize the tax return by April 15. To be fair, I haven't been procrastinating. I am convinced that an accurate return is way better than a timely (but inaccurate) one, and plus, I have some good reasons to delay my official filing:
First, as I previously disclosed, my employer and ESPP program administration (Fidelity) messed up my W-2 Form due to poor accounting of my ESPP sales. It is only yesterday that I finally received a correction form W-2C. While it is easy to add it to my TaxAct software, I figured out I probably need more time to make sure all numbers tie out.
Second, we will list our son as a dependent for the first time -- he was in and out of US before so he never qualified as an eligible dependent until tax year 2004. To make it a little bit more complicated, he does not have a social security number yet due to his immigration status. (Yes, he can apply for an ITIN -- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number -- but enforced law now requires such an application accompanied by a tax return in which the ITIN will be used. This means I have to file by paper if I choose this path.) Fortunately, he was just approved his permanent residency, so an extension can buy us some time to apply for a social security number for him, which will allow us to file online on a later date.
So much for my defense, in the next post, let me show you all the available options of applying for a tax filing extension.