Left Filing Your Taxes ‘Hasta el último’? Here’s Some Last Minute Tax Tips

By: Wandy Felicita Ortiz

If you’re reading this on April 15th, buena suerte mi amiga! Today’s the last day to file your 2023 taxes without penalties. Here are some last-minute tips to ease Tax Day stress and set you up for future success. Remember to breathe, use last year’s return as a guide, seek reliable resources, and consider filing for an extension if needed. Let’s make next year’s tax season smoother. ¡Buena suerte!

If you’re reading this on April 15th, buena suerte mi amiga: today is the last day to file your 2023 taxes on your own or with a tax pro without filing for an extension or facing a financial penalty with the IRS. For many U.S. taxpayers it can feel like an endless process of jumping through hoops just to get yourself ready to file, before you even sit down in person, mail out a manilla envelope, submit any documentation to an online self-service platform or contact your Certified Public Accountant. 

Come January, the pressure to have each W2, W9, tax deductible donation slip and receipt available and itemized is on. No matter how many years we’ve been paying taxes, somehow April 15 always manages to sneak up unannounced for some of us. 

How to Get Ahead of Tax Day Anxiety 

Tax prep ought to be a well-practiced skill–one that’s taught in school and easily digestible. But of course, that’s not the reality for anybody (unless you’re an accountant, me imagino). Each tax season, there are new debates on what is considered tax deductible, how to best organize multiple income streams, and what method is best for getting it all done as quickly, accurately and cost-effectively as possible. 

But hey, today isn’t the day to overthink it all. It’s the day to roll up our sleeves and get things done! Here are some last-minute tax prep tips to help you finish up before midnight tonight, no matter if you work full-time, part-time, run your own business, or are just helping out a friend or family member with their finances.

  1. Breathe, like, seriously.

Life happens. Maybe you’re usually on it when it comes to tax prep, but this year you faced some personal or professional obstacles that took priority over filing taxes on time. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, made a big move, been a caretaker, had a baby, or been managing some health needs. Regardless of the circumstance, not filing on time is not the be-all and end-all of your life. Plenty of people have filed late and led okay lives despite it. If you usually file late, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Nearly a third of tax returns are received by the IRS a week before Tax Day

If you’re filing on behalf of someone else, have some grace for them and for yourself. Eres una, and you or any other one person can only do so much in a given timeframe. My parents have had a saying for many years that goes like this:

 “If you’re ever in trouble–regardless of the situation and even if you know we’re going to get mad–call us. We will help you, get the situation handled and solved right then and there. We’ll save the getting angry for tomorrow.” 

Today is the time to help now, and be frustrated later. It may be a long night, but somewhere along the line you’ll find a sense of (tax) relief.

  1. Use last year’s tax return as a starting point (where you can).

If not much has changed for you and your crew in the past year, chances are pretty good that you generally had the same types or levels of expenses, deductions, salary pay and donations this year that you did last year. Having your 2022 tax return on hand–in person or online–can help to minimize confusion or ambiguity in terms of what documents and forms you may need for 2024. 

If things have changed in the last year, consider consulting a friend or relative with a similar lifestyle for advice on what strategies have or haven’t worked for them in managing finances. A collaborative effort can streamline the process and reduce time spent tracking down information.

  1. When in doubt, check it out.

It’s easy to forget every purchase you’ve made in the past year, and even easier to forget what’s actually deductible from all of those purchases. Instead of guessing and throwing caution to the wind, confer with the IRS on what you may be able to write-off. There are also lots of online on-demand and last-minute resources that you can reference while organizing to help you create your customer-made chart of itemized receipts.

Some popular ones for those filing on their own or online via a CPA are:

If internet access or computational knowledge are limited for you and yours today, your local library or community center may also be holding office-hour style free consultations for those filing their taxes today, often they offer bilingual and translation assistance as well. 

  1. Don’t look down on an extension.

Filing extensions exist for a reason, and while yes they can be pricey at times, they are an opportunity to help you get your bearings and approach the tax filing process with a bit more level-headedness and rationale. Más vale prevenir que lamentar, and if today is full of tight turnarounds for you–work, school, chores, travel, other responsibilities, you may feel a lot better taking your time instead of rushing for the sake of hitting the deadline.

Let today’s tax stress set you up for next year’s IRS success story.

Hopefully, wherever you are in your tax filing journey this year, next year can be a smoother process. Y si no, remember, it’s okay!

About the author: Wandy Felicita Ortiz


I am a trilingual writer and content analyst with a passion for creating and sharing engaging stories across platforms and audiences. I have over ten years of experience as a freelance digital media content creator and copyeditor, working with clients and outlets such as Fortune Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Penguin Random House, Reader's Digest, Button Poetry Publishing, and Grammy-nominated artist Mike Posner. I have also contributed to various online publications, including Fierce by Mítu, Huffington Post, Refinery29 and Yahoo, covering topics such as culture, education, entertainment, politics, science and socioeconomics.

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