It's crunch time if getting your federal tax returns done is still on the top of your to-do list this week.
Local accountants say they've seen more late filers this year than they have in decades but procrastinating isn't completely to blame. CPA Michael Morris tells me the fiscal cliff and new tax laws which passed late are partially to blame. Some tax forms, he says, weren't even available until late February.
Whatever the reason, if you find yourself pushing Monday's deadline, start by getting your documents together whether you use a tax preparer or do them yourself. Paperwork like W-2s, and your social security numbers are easy to remember but don't forget to have the social security number for your dependents as well.
Make sure to have your bank account number because new this year, Virginia is no longer cutting paper checks. You'll have to use direct deposit or any refund will be loaded onto a debit card.
A good guide to use as a checklist is last year's return. You can use it to a make sure you have all the forms you need but take note of any changes from the past year, cashing in a 401K or selling stock, for example.
"A lot of times they don't bring me everything they need so I send them on a scavenger hunt," said Certified Public Accountant, Michael Morris. "So now all of a sudden we've got 3 or 4 days and they're out scrambling looking for childcare expenses or things they don't have-- interest or dividends or something that didn't get in the pile."
Morris says tax payers also tend to forget personal property tax payments because they're paid back in May and statements aren't mailed out at the end of the year.
The deadline for state tax returns is May 1.