This year many people will once again put off doing their taxes until the proverbial last minute. Many will apply for an automatic extension and file on October 15. Although tax day is normally on April 15, the District of Columbia’s “Emancipation Day” automatically moves the date to April 17. Since this year is also a leap year, that gives us an extra day as well.
While it may tempting with all this extra time to keep putting it off, the best thing to do would be to get started gathering all the forms and paperwork you will need in order to file, including W2’s, 1099’s, K-1’s, and anything else that may be required.
Of course, tax filers are not the only ones who may procrastinate when it comes to tax matters. Last year, not only was tax day on April 18 due to Emancipation Day, but the federal government also gave almost 50 million Americans even longer to file due to a legislative mess created by the last minute enactment of the 2010 Tax Relief Act. It appears that the forms required by the act weren’t quite ready at the time. The IRS Commissioner was not pleased at all and made sure to inform Congress of the headache this caused the IRS.
Nonetheless, federal government incompetence is no excuse for us to put off preparing our tax returns, leap year or not. The sooner you send your return in the sooner you will get any refund you may be owed. In these economic times, who can’t use a little extra money?
Electronic Filing Services Are Taxpayers’ First Choice!
This tax season, the IRS has devised a plethora of useful virtual features to facilitate the taxpaying process greatly. Tara Lynn Wagner of NY1 reports as follows:
“Once again, it’s that time of year when people’s thoughts turn toward taxes. The good news is that help has arrived for all those persistent procrastinators, however.
In 2012, taxes will not be officially overdue until after April 17 – two days later than the traditional filing deadline. This is per IRS spokeswoman Dianne Besunder.
Ms. Besunder further advised that prompt filing yields correspondingly faster refund receipt – especially for electronic filers. According to Besunder, a whopping 79 percent of US taxpayers filed via electronic means last tax season.
Using electronic filing services also offers taxpayers the advantage of enhanced accuracy in addition to much speedier returns. Besunder stated that overall error incidence of e-filed returns is only one percent – as opposed to traditional paper-based filings’ cumulative inaccuracies of 20 percent.
The best news is that taxpayers whose gross annual income falls below $57,000 may utilize IRS electronic filing software for free. Registration via the official IRS website at IRS.gov is the only requirement.
Virtual Service (“VS”) is an innovative IRS pilot program that is currently in the beta testing phase. VS permits taxpayers to talk with IRS reps via video conferencing from 10 major IRS locations throughout the US.
For further details about VS, various IRS YouTube videos, and social media networking resources, call 1-800-829-1040 or visit IRS.gov.
Tax filing season has started and the documents you need should be in the mailbox soon. While the return is not due until April 17 this year, here are 10 tax tips to ensure you are ready to file.
1. Start gathering records now. This includes receipts, canceled checks and other supporting documents.
2. Watch for W-2s and 1099s. You will need them.
3. For answers to questions, look at the IRS website.
4. Use Free File. If your income was $57,000 or less you qualify for free file. You must access this service trough www.irs.gov. The IRS has collaborated with many companies that offer software to make all the calculations and file your taxes at no cost. There are also online forms that look like the standard forms that can be completed and filed online.
5. Use IRS e-file. This is a safe and easy way to file your return. It was used by 106 million people last year and is now require of many tax preparers. If you owe money, you can pay immediately or by the deadline. If you are due a refund, it can be directly deposited to you ban within 10-14 days.
6. Consider all options. Prepare it yourself or have a preparer file it for you.
7. Use direct deposit. It will save several weeks over the time to send a paper check.
8. Find all you need at the website www.irs.gov. Publications, forms and tips are all available.
9. Read IRS Publication 17. This comprehensive resource highlights all you need to know to file a return.
10. Take time to review. Do not rush. A mistake will slow down your return’s processing. Ensure all SSNs and math are correct. If you need help, ask. There are volunteer sites as well as help through www.irs.gov for all your tax questions and tax tips.