By Lauren Pastrana

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Tax day is just over a month away. Have you filed your taxes already? If you have, congratulations! You’re ahead of a lot of procrastinators at this point.

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Maybe you don’t think you need to file, or think you don’t need to pay, but you may want to double check that.

The frugal-friendly site Cheapism has released a few common myths, and today’s “Lauren’s List” has a breakdown of 4 popular tax return rumors you don’t want to fall victim to.

  1. Students don’t need to file: That isn’t always true. The IRS doesn’t care about your educational status, just your income. If a college student earns more than a certain amount of income in a year, the IRS wants your return! Plus, even students not reaching that minimum, may be due a refund! Visit this site for a handy tool on how to determine if you need to file.
  1. Having a desk at home means you have a home office: That isn’t necessarily the case. A desk at your house, even if you do work there occasionally, can’t always be used for a home office deduction. If you have an actual office, but take work home from time to time, that doesn’t count. Check with a tax pro to be sure.
  1. Married couples must file jointly: No, married couples don’t have to file a joint return. While it is sometimes a good idea, it’s definitely not a requirement. Filing jointly can be the right move if the couple earns less than a certain amount combined. Once you’re above the threshold, there’s actually a penalty for filing jointly, because you’re in another tax bracket. Even the IRS website says, “If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation.”
  1. A filing extension is a payment extension: Guess again! Just because you don’t meet the filing deadline, which this year is on April 18th, doesn’t mean you can push back payments. In fact, you should still send the government at least 90% of what you think you’ll owe, or else you’ll be subject to the failure-to-pay penalty. Here’s a link to the form to file an extension.
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Lauren Pastrana