It's a procrastinator's wish come true--extra time to file your taxes! This season, instead of the traditional April 15th deadline, you have until Monday, April 18th to submit your 2015 tax return.

This is courtesy of Washington, D.C., which will celebrate Emancipation Day on Friday, the 15th,  pushing the deadline to the following Monday for most of the nation.  For residents of Maine and Massachusetts, the deadline is Tuesday, April 19 due to the Patriot's Day holiday on the 18th.

Enough about the holidays; you can celebrate after you file your taxes. Before sitting down with a tax preparer,  you need to pull together all the relevant documents.

Your checklist:

  • Make sure you bring your W-2 from your employer.
  • Social Security numbers for you, your spouse and any dependents.
  • If you have a childcare provider, you'll need her tax ID number.
  • Form 1099-MISC for contractors. Make sure to bring verifiable expenses for your Schedule C.
  • Form 1099-INT--for interest earned on most savings accounts.
  • Form 1099-DIV--for each stock, mutual fund or money market account. (If you worked with a broker, the broker transactions will be sent on Form 1099-B.
  • Form 1098--mortgage interest paid for homes you own.
  • Receipts for any state and local income taxes paid (such as a home, car, boat, etc.)
  • Receipts for any charitable donation. For example, if you traveled for volunteer work, you can deduct the mileage, but not your time. Use a calendar as documentation and mark the mileage driven on the days you volunteered.
  • The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) comes into play on your tax return. If you are claiming the premium tax credit, make sure to bring Form 1095-A from the Marketplace.

Obamacare and taxes can make for a confusing combination, so getting a pro's advice on this may be worth the money you save by filing correctly.

Choosing the Correct Filing Status

Speaking of filing correctly, the status you choose on your tax return is probably something that doesn't keep you up a night, but it can affect the amount of tax you owe, possibly costing you thousands of dollars if you don't get it right.

Sometimes more than one filing status may apply to you. If that happens, have your tax advisor run a comparison to see which one allows you to pay the least amount of tax.

Keep in mind that your marital status on Dec. 31 is your status for the whole year. Here's a list of the five filing statuses:

  • Single. This status normally applies if you aren't married. It applies if you are divorced or legally separated under state law.
  • Married Filing Jointly. If you're married, you and your spouse can file a joint tax return. If your spouse died in 2015, you can often file a joint return for that year.
  • Married Filing Separately. A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns. This may benefit you if it results in less tax owed than if you file a joint tax return. Again, you may want to prepare your taxes both ways before you choose. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.
  • Head of Household. In most cases, this status applies if you are not married, but there are some special rules. For example, you must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Make sure you don't choose this status by mistake--be sure to check all the rules.
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. This may apply to you if your spouse died during 2014 or 2015 and you have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply, so check this with a tax pro before you choose this one.

For those of you getting a refund, statistics show that many taxpayers spend the money within the first week of receiving it. For many, this is rent money or a chance to pay down debts.

Doing your homework before filing can put more money back in your pocket this season.

Enjoy the journey!