Tax Filing Assistance For Taxpayers

If you are yet to file your federal income tax returns for 2012, luck is at hand. This year, you will have a couple of additional days to do it.

Rather than the usual 15th April deadline, taxpayers can send their returns in as late as midnight 17th April.

A spokesman for the IRS, Christopher Miller, assured people that they have no need to panic.

The 2 day extension has been granted because the 15th falls on a Sunday, followed by Emancipation Day on the 16th, which is a federal holiday in the Colombia District.

As ever, according to Miller, lots of tax filing assistance is provided for filers completing returns at the last minute. For example, taxpayers can visit www.irs.gov/freefile and utilize the free IRS File on the internet. It provides complimentary software to e file and prepare taxes.

Miller stated that the group of tax help software businesses, called Free File Alliance, have affiliated with the IRS Volunteer Program for Income Tax Assistance to aid a greater number of lower and moderate level taxpayers. With this new affiliation, software is accessible at self serve computer terminals located in virtually 300 areas throughout 29 states, which includes the Quad Cities.

The group executive director, Tim Hugo, said that the Free File Alliance aims to offer online e filing and preparation services for US residents who may not be capable of paying for professional tax filing assistance or tax software.

The program, that started in 2003, offers people who earn $50000.00 or below complimentary tax preparation, along with personal tax help at nationwide locations. IRS certified voluntary staff assist taxpayers in the completion of their yearly tax returns, and offer tax credit information about credits that some taxpayers may be able to claim, like Child Tax Credits, Credits for the Disabled or Elderly and Earned Income Tax Credits.

At a local level, this program is managed by Quad Cities United Way and by additional sponsors, according to Scott Crane, who is president of the Quad City United Way company.

Crane said that, during the previous year, they did 5500 returns and that this year, by the 1st March, they were 15% up. Apparently, this meant that $5.5 million was returned back to the community last year.

The program ends on 14th April and is reachable in numerous local sites. These include the offices of the United Way in Davenport.

Paul Gilbert is a retired agent for the IRS from Davenport, who recently decided to volunteer for the program. Gilbert claimed that he has seen a constant stream of clients, while he was helping a client in the offices of the United Way.

LaVaughn Narbone, from Moline, started at the United Way the previous week, having learned about the program through a referral.

Narbone said that she had her taxes for this year completed in the Rock Island Martin Luther King Center, but that she also needed to complete her returns for the previous two years. The King Center, unfortunately, did not possess the correct software for doing this.

Sharon Scott from Davenport, another client, has used the program for a decade. She said she loves it because it is free and extremely thorough.

The H&R Block manager at Rock Island (1610 2nd Ave), Darnett Aldridge, claimed that lots of people are making use of his business’s offer to re assess tax returns which have been completed somewhere else.

Aldridge stated that many people who complete returns do it incorrectly and that he can sometimes save people as much as $10000.00.

The IRS said that most tax returns are electronically filed. A taxpayer that e files utilizes tax software which usually incorporates a question and answer style format. This format ensures that taxpayers get all of the deductions and credits to which they are entitled. Generally, the rate of error for e filed returns is lower than 1%, compared to about 20% for paper filed returns, according to the IRS.

Miller stated that people who are falling behind schedule can request a deadline extension on the internet, or by completing a 4868 Form.

Miller said that deadline extensions relate to tax filing, not to the time people have to pay the taxes they owe.

People who are unable to meet the tax paying deadline can phone the IRS to make arrangements for payment.

Miller added that a Fresh Start initiative was recently expanded by the IRS, which tries to help struggling taxpayers review their options for payment.

The owner of 4 Liberty Tax Services franchise offices, Theresa Harris, said she can see identical trends occurring this year that mirror trends which have occurred in the past.

Harris said that some people wanted their cash instantly, but then everything slowed down by March. Now though, she said the business owners who have to pay and the procrastinators are appearing. Apparently, this is exactly what happened over the past few years.

The Mistakes a Taxpayer Should Avoid When Filing Tax Returns

The Mistakes a Taxpayer Should Avoid When Filing Tax Returns

The season for filing tax returns often finds people confused and nervous. The IRS assumes the role of an enormous vengeful monster ready to gobble you up. It is very unfortunate, and very common, that a considerable number of taxpayers will postpone filing their tax returns and straightening out tax affairs until the deadline looms high; this is where the nervousness comes into play.

If you are not clear about tax laws, depreciation formulae and deductibility rules, you may find yourself in some trouble. This could also cause you to … Read the rest

The Mistakes a Taxpayer Should Avoid When Filing Tax Returns

The season for filing tax returns often finds people confused and nervous. The IRS assumes the role of an enormous vengeful monster ready to gobble you up. It is very unfortunate, and very common, that a considerable number of taxpayers will postpone filing their tax returns and straightening out tax affairs until the deadline looms high; this is where the nervousness comes into play.

If you are not clear about tax laws, depreciation formulae and deductibility rules, you may find yourself in some trouble. This could also cause you to shell out precious money that would have otherwise been spent on stuff you wanted.

Even minor errors can lead to payment of increased taxes and might possibly lead to delayed or eliminated refunds. As is true of everything else in life, being systematic and extremely careful in arranging paperwork related to tax returns all through the year will ensure a smooth filing of tax returns when the time comes. Be sure that you don’t lose or accidentally throw away any bills, receipts or vouchers related to your tax return. The next step you need to take is to educate yourself about the IRS’ rules and regulations. Do no blindly believe other people’s opinions. Look up the facts for yourself.

Making tax return errors is very common, even CEOs of companies, VPs and professors are no exceptions. Read on to know some common mistakes which should be avoided at all costs.

  1. Mistakes are often made in the context of benefits claimed for dependent children. Not being fully aware of the allowed exemptions might lead to failure in making a correct claim or cause an erroneous claim. The IRS, in an attempt to clear common confusions, specified the definition of ‘child’ in 2006, with the details available at http://www.bankrate.com/brm/itax/tips/20010208a.asp. If this does not answer your question, refer to a dependable source before proceeding with filing your tax returns.
  2. The most common types of mistakes that occur in tax return filing are calculation based ones, caused by mistakes made while entering the digits. Cross check to make sure the full stops and the commas are in the right places. Stay patient while dealing with the figures and check the total on two separate days. Requesting a family member or friend to check the total might be a good idea. Usage of tax software programs might make things easy for you. It should be noted that the IRS compulsorily checks entries against W-2, 1099 and other statements relevant to your tax. Make sure that your return does not have a discrepancy because they would spot it and that would lead to problems and delays.
  3. If you forget to sign the tax return and insert the date, the IRS will not process your tax return. Once you are done filling, run through it carefully to see that you have not missed any minute details on any page. Also, make sure that you have written your social security numbers or tax ID numbers correctly.
  4. Another common mistake is forgetting to submit all the relevant forms, for example, W-2, 1040, or 07, or 16. It is important to check the relevant schedule for each claim and to make sure that all the required and supporting forms are attached with the tax return.
  5. Taxpayers often fail to keep track of investments, interests they have paid or earned, allowed deductions etc. it is vital to maintain records of your investments, dividends you have paid, taxes deducted on maturity (if any), taxes paid previously, capital gains etc. Keeping a thorough track of taxes paid would prevent you from paying taxes on the same amount more than once. One should be very careful and systematic while making these calculations to avoid mistakes.
  6. A lot of taxpayers utilize the long form when actually the 1040Ez is more suitable for them. The 1040Ez is enough, and the long form not necessary, for people whose income, expenses and related things are simple and straightforward. Many of us are not aware of the amount it is possible for us to save in taxes. The long form has provisions for deductions from taxable income in lieu of student loan interest, contributions to charities, alimony paid etc.
  7. A lot of taxpayers fail to submit by the deadline and ask for an extension. This attracts penalties along with interest. In cases due to unavoidable circumstances, where you fail to submit your tax filing by April, you need to submit form 4868 by the April deadline in order to be allowed an extension.
  8. Many taxpayers end up using the wrong table for calculations. One needs to be very careful about two things in particular: using the appropriate tax tables and filing status. If you use the wrong tables or file under an inappropriate status, you may find yourself to be in hot soup. The error could even translate to paying extra taxes on income derived from investments. Be very careful and calculate your taxes through the use of the worksheet at the back of the booklet.
  9. Two very common mistakes taxpayers end up making while filling their tax returns are; entering the wrong details in the check and forgetting to sign the check. A lot of taxpayers also post the forms without attaching the proper postage on the return package. It is also mandatory to use the printed label and envelope that the IRS provides.

The IRS has made its tax filing systems modern and a number of the errors mentioned above can be prevented by opting for electronic tax filing. It was calculated that last year over half of the tax returns were filed using e-filing. There are many advantages of pursuing electronic filing. The forms that you would use for the purpose are on tab, the software provides you with a step by step guidance to complete the filling process, the electronic calculator minimizes the chance of errors and most importantly, the e-filing forms take a short time to be processed, the turnaround time being 14 days. For details, visit http://www.irs.gov. In case you are not sure about the process, you can request the help of an authorized tax professional.

Make sure that you file your taxes on time and accurately. This will prevent heartburn and hypertension.