April 15’s many tax deadlines

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Tax Day 2014 is almost here. For millions, that means filing one of the versions of Form 1040.

But for some folks, April 15 also is a deadline for other tax tasks.

Here are eight instances that require you to file a form or take some action on or before April 15.

1. File your return, pay your tax

Send the Internal Revenue Service a tax return. If you owe tax, you must send the amount you owe, or as much as you can afford to pay, by April 15. Failure to do so will cost you more in interest and penalties.

2. Ask for an extension

If you just can’t get your 1040 filled out by April 15, the IRS will give you six more months — until Oct. 15 — as long as you submit Form 4868. You can do this electronically or by mail. Remember, though, that this is an extension to file your return, not an extension to pay. So send in what you owe, or a close estimate of the amount, so you don’t face penalty and interest charges.

3. Make your first 2014 estimated tax payment

If you had income the first three months of the year that didn’t have taxes withheld from it, you need to make an estimated tax payment. It doesn’t matter if it was earned income from, for example, your own company or a side job you have on the weekends or unearned income from investments. The IRS expects you to file Form 1040-ES throughout the year (the other deadlines are June 15, Sept. 15 and next Jan. 15, 2015) to cover the taxes on this money. Miss the payments and you’ll also owe penalties and interest.

4. File a gift tax return

Did you give more than $14,000 in cash, property or gifts to anyone last year? Then you must file Form 709, the gift tax return.

5. Claim your 2010 refund

The IRS is holding around $760 million in unclaimed refunds from 2010. It’s money that was due taxpayers who didn’t file a tax return for that year. If you’re one of those folks, file your 2010 Form 1040 by April 15 or kiss that money goodbye forever.

6. Contribute to medical savings accounts

A health savings account, or HSA, is a tax-advantaged savings account you can establish in connection with a health insurance policy that has a high deductible. Money in the HSA is used to pay for the medical treatments that go toward the high deductible amount. For the 2013 tax year, the HSA annual contribution limit is $3,250 for individual coverage or $6,450 for family coverage. If you’re 55 or older, you can put in an additional $1,000. And you can put that amount into your HSA for 2013 as late as April 15.

Owners of a similar medical coverage plan, the Archer Medical Savings Account, or MSA, also have until the annual filing deadline to contribute for the previous tax year.

7. Contribute to IRAs

IRA owners also have until April 15 to make 2013 tax year contributions to their Roth or traditional IRAs. If you’re younger than 50, you can put in up to $5,500 into either kind of IRA for the 2013 tax year. If you’re age 50 or older, you get another $1,000 to contribute. By making the contributions for the prior year, you max out your savings and that means your nest egg will be bigger when you finally leave the 9-to-5 grind.

8. File your state taxes

Most states collect income taxes from their residents. And most states follow the IRS filing deadline. You can check your state’s tax due date at Bankrate’s state tax directory.

Do one or more of these tax situations apply to you? If so, you might want to do a little work this coming weekend so next Tuesday isn’t too crazy.

More tax info from Bankrate

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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book “The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes” and co-author of the e-book “Future Millionaires’ Guidebook.”