Tax Advice New Filers Can Use From Intuit

logo_of_the_internal_revenue_service-svgWhen I filed my taxes for the first time, I didn’t have Turbotax or any other program to help me out. It was a very intimidating and scary process for me and I was constantly worried about messing up and having to pay a penalty to IRS. Filing for taxes is an easy job if you are aware of what you need to do. The following are some of the tips and 2015 Tax Advice that you can use as a first time tax filer:

TurboTax

The first thing that you need to do is to organize all your files and documents. Have all these stored in one place, be it the forms, the receipts or other kinds of relevant documentation. By doing this you will be able to save a lot of time and also make the whole process more easy and convenient. Next, you should also check whether you qualify to file for free or not. If you have a W-2 along with very little bank interest then you would qualify.

Also, do not forget about filing for your state taxes with TurboTax 2015. When you have a tax filing program like TurboTax, you would be able to file for state taxes and federal taxes easily because all your information can be transferred automatically. Another top tip to keep in mind would be to file online using TurboTax 2015 instead of doing the process manually because the latter is a time consuming process and the scope for errors is also higher.

Government Report Shows Former IRS Employees Still Accessing Taxpayer Data

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the IRS continues to leave its vast computer systems without proper security. Private taxpayer data is vulnerable to hackers, fraudsters and former IRS employees. This GAO report tells of significant deficiencies relating to the financial reporting systems. Millions of Americans are rightfully concerned because they are required by law to file tax returns but worry about fraud.

The IRS must continue making improvements to taxpayer financial data controls. This news comes in the wake of a very unpleasant six weeks for taxpayers and the IRS. Taxpayers have entered this filing season with greater fears over fraud. TurboTax recently announced it was suspending tax return filings due to fraud.

Taxpayer distress became more severe when some learned that their tax return had been filed by someone else who received their refund. At first, it did not involve federal taxes, only state returns. The FBI began investigating returns filed using TurboTax. Those interviewed about this spoke of data being compromised and returns may have been filed on the basis of 2013 returns.

The report tells of easily compromised IRS passwords and outdated software having improper security functions. Worse yet, at times the IRS fails to delete access for employees who quit or have been fired.

David M. Walker (U.S. Comptroller General)
David M. Walker (U.S. Comptroller General) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Additionally, former employees of the IRS retain access to its data system when they should have been immediately cut off. A co-author of the report says that there is a plethora of taxpayer data that remains at risk for identity theft.

Taxpayers have no confidence in the credibility and security of the IRS especially after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration stated that 1.6 million taxpayers had been affected by identity theft early in 2014. It was a fraction of that four years before. Electronic filing likely plays a role.

The GAO warns that gaining access to IRS files does not require much sophistication on the part of hackers. At the same time, it reports that some security weaknesses have been addressed, but more improvements must be made.

TurboTax Responds Well To Issues

We are currently in the midst of the tax season, and many tax filers already received their refunds. These individuals should feel happy and lucky because there is an issue currently afflicting the tax industry. Based on recent reports from the TheBestCompanys.com, some individuals are not receiving the refunds they were expecting. Apparently, identity thieves found a way to claim and steal from these unsuspecting individuals. Try using TurboTax 2015 next year.

Since the start of the year, internet fraud on the Turbotax 2015 free platform increased by approximately 37%. This percentage includes suspicious filers and filers who had their information compromised by hackers. TurboTax 2013 creators were not aware of this glitch for quite some time. When they discovered the issue, they started making changes to their interface, and now these issues are becoming less frequent.

The chief tax officer of Intuit, David Williams, believes internet fraud will be an ongoing problem. If they correct one problem, he expects the problem to pop up somewhere else. Intuit plans to do their part by placing safeguards and deterrents in vulnerable spots within the interface.

TurboTax 2015
Photo by CustomUSB.com

This will help out the tax filer tremendously, but the tax filer needs to do their part as well. Intuit encourages tax filers to guard their information when they are filing a tax return. This will put another barrier in front of any hackers and thieves.

How To Check Your Tax Return Online

Check Your Tax Return Online

Everyone needs to be updated on the progress of his or her application for a tax return after they file. Failure to do this could unnecessarily prolong the waiting time, which is typically twenty one days. In most cases, the internal revenue service, commonly known as the IRS, is able to meet the 21 day target. However, delays associated with incomplete information or inaccurate details will hold up the process especially if the applicant does not get details of the hindrance. As a rule of thumb, one is advised to keep track of the process by checking the status of his or her tax return online.

There are several ways of verifying the condition of your tax return. To begin with, one can use a telephone to check the status of is of her tax return. The process is simple and it entails calling the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1954. Besides this toll-free hotline, those with iPhone and Android phones can also check their tax return via a special application, IRS 2go. If you would like to check your tax return status online, the IRS website is the most appropriate place to visit. The website application is easy to navigate through and thus accessible to all and sundry.

The Where’s my Refund IRS web application will help you get the status of your tax return. However, this website is usually updated once in a day. For electrically-filed tax return, the refund information should be available in 24 hours after ISR receives the information. Alternatively, you can check your tax return online by simply having your security number ready at hand while logging in to the IRS website. Going by this option, a number of details would be required, including the exact amount to be refunded. Nevertheless, the goal will be met since one will be able to quickly learn the status of his or her returns.

Free Tax Filing For Amended Returns

Free Tax Filing For 2010 Amended Return

Even with the best of intentions, mistakes happen. Sometimes they can be costly. But in the case of amended tax returns, fixing them could be free.

There are any number of reasons why people may want to amend their federal tax return. In addition to correcting simple errors, they may want to take advantage of a new credit, such as the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit. Or they may have forgotten that lottery win back in July 2010.

IRS Form 1040X, 2005 revision
IRS Form 1040X, 2005 revision (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever the cause, free tax filing for 2010 amended return is as simple as filling out Form 1040X available from the IRS website or from some online tax preparation applications like FreeTaxUSA or TurboTax. The IRS, however, is not set up to accept electronic filings for Form 1040X, so they will have to be printed out and mailed.

Be sure to have your completed 2010 tax return ready to include any necessary information. In offering free tax filing for a 2010 amended return, many online tax services can provide this information quickly and easily.

Then just fill in the second section of Form 1040X identifying what has changed. Be sure and download any additional credit IRS forms needed to explain your claim. Explain why you are amending the return, print the form and send it to the appropriate IRS address. Be sure and include any documentation to support your claim, such as a bill of sale, copy of a deed and such.

If you have used online services such as TurboTax or H&R Block, check for free services offered in filing for a 2010 amended return. Other services, such as filing for state amended returns, may require a fee.