Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
It’s that time of year again, fellow taxpayers. This list, while not comprehensive, includes some quick and easy things that I tell my clients about getting their taxes done on time:
- You should have received all of your W-2s and 1099s by now and you’ll need these to file your tax return. If you don’t receive one, don’t assume that the IRS doesn’t know it exists. They run a computerized audit program ever year called a CP-2000, that, in layman’s terms, compares every tax return with every W2 and 1099 that was placed on file by employers to see if anyone under-reported income by failing to claim one of these on their tax return. The penalties and interest can get really messy if you get caught in this audit.
- If you qualify, use Free File. With every brand-name tax software or online fillable forms, anyone can find an option to prepare their tax return and e-file it for free. If you made $58,000 or less, you qualify for free tax software that is offered through a private-public partnership with manufacturers. If you made more or are comfortable preparing your own tax return, the IRS offers every form available for free in fillable .pdf format on their website.
- File early, use e-file and have your tax refund direct deposited into your bank account.
- Visit the IRS on-line at www.irs.gov. Their official site is a great resource for anything you could possibly need to file your tax return: forms, publications, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes – even catching up on past years you may have skipped – er, rather missed.
- Download IRS Publication 17. It’s FREE and it’s a pretty complete collection of information for taxpayers with jsut about everything you’ll need to know when filing your return, including sample forms, schedules, tips, tricks, and even lists of deductions you might not be aware of.
Here’s a bonus tip:
Don’t panic. If it gets down to crunch time and you can’t get it done, you can file an extension. However, remember that if you are going to owe money, even with an extension, the money you owe (or some amount close to what you will owe) is due in April.