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Last Minute Income Property Tax Filing Advice

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One of the great things about income property investing is the tax benefits.  By deducting your rental property expenses, and factoring in property depreciation, you essentially create a natural tax shelter that can reduce your annual income tax liability.  In fact, I usually get a tax refund every year.  Unfortunately, many investors (me included) procrastinate or make common filing errors that delay the receipt of their tax refund.  With the deadline only a few short days away, here are some common sense tips to help you get it done on time and receive your refund check as quickly as possible.

The most obvious one is to have your real estate accountant file your forms electronically on your behalf.  Usually this will require you to provide your accountant with an authorization form (for example IRS Form 8879), and is well worth it because your accountant is probably more familiar with the electronic filing system than you and hence can get it done in a more efficient manner.  This will save you time compared to the process of getting your tax forms back from your accountant, writing the check if applicable, and stuffing and mailing the envelope.  Plus, you will get your refund check faster because you will be eliminating the snail mail lag. 

Next, make sure you check and double check all the pertinent information (obviously before your accountant electronically files on your behalf).  After you get your tax forms back from your accountant, audit them for accuracy.  Check the social security or federal tax ID numbers, the income / expense numbers, and of course the math.  Any inaccuracies could lead to a delay in getting your refund.

Finally, make sure you and your spouse sign all the documents in the appropriate places, and if you are not planning to file electronically, make sure the forms are mailed to the correct IRS address (yes, there is more than one).  Good luck!

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