Tax return filing season has arrived, which means it's time to mark your calendar for these 2017 tax deadlines.

  • January 17 – Due date for the fourth and final installment of 2016 estimated tax for individuals (unless you file your 2016 return and pay any balance due by January 31).
  • January 31 – Employers must furnish 2016 W-2 statements to employees, and send copies to the Social Security Administration (both paper and electronic).
  • January 31 – Payers must file all copies of 2016 Forms 1099-MISC with non-employee compensation in Box 7. For these forms, the January 31 due date applies to both paper and electronic filing.
  • January 31 – Employers must generally file 2016 federal unemployment tax returns and pay any tax due.
  • February 28 – Payers must file information returns (except certain Forms 1099-MISC) with the IRS. (Except for certain Forms 1099-MISC, March 31 is the deadline if filing electronically.)
  • March 1 – Farmers and fishermen who did not make 2016 estimated tax payments must file 2016 tax returns and pay taxes in full.
  • March 2 – Large employers must furnish Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C to employees.
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Shaping up your finances in 2017 may seem like a big goal, perhaps even too daunting. But if you take one small step at a time, these small steps will add up. Here are suggestions.

* Shift out of automatic. Have you established automatic bill pay at your bank or service provider, or automatic charges to your credit card?

Small step: Look for payments for goods or services you no longer use, such as recurring monthly subscriptions, and cancel them.

Big goal: Reduce total expenses and increase savings.

* Take the urgency out of emergency. Sure, you know that having an account with enough funds specifically earmarked for emergencies is a good idea. But the amount you need to save seems overwhelming. The good news is you don’t have to immediately fund six months of living expenses.

Small step: Set up a separate account with automatic deposits of $5 or $10 per paycheck, perhaps with funds you’ve redirected from those unused recurring monthly subscriptions.

Big goal: An emergency fund with enough cash to cover six months of expenses.

* Give yourself credit. Maybe you intend to pay off your credit card debt. But do you have a plan? Knowing where you stand is the first step in getting to where you want to be.

Small step: Make a list of your cards, the balances, the minimum payments, and the interest rates.

Big goal: Eliminate finance charges by being able to pay off your balance each month.

* Retire your excuses. Does your employer offer a retirement plan? If so, you may be leaving money on the table.

Small step: Find out what amount is on offer as “matching” funds. That’s money your employer will add to your account when you make contributions.

Big goal: Maximize your retirement contributions.

Small steps can lead to big improvements in your financial well-being. Contact us for more tips.

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