Who doesn’t love a great top ten list? With March rolling to a close, the deadline for filing your personal income tax returns is drawing near. Here is a compilation of JK Harris best tax tips to help you through the filing season.
10. Avoid delaying your refund (or timely processing of your tax return). Check your tax return for incorrect/missing Social Security numbers, misspellings and math errors. And, if you moved, make sure you report your new address to the IRS.
9. Did you earn income in 2009? Make sure you file for the new Making Work Pay Tax Credit by attaching Schedule M.
8. Choosing Direct Deposit for your tax refund is definitely the way to go to get a faster refund! Make sure you review the routing and account numbers for accuracy.
7. File your return electronically. There’s a reason snail mail is named snail mail – it takes longer to get there and longer to process. Electronic filing is fast, easy and in most cases free! There are so many easy to use software filing programs on the market now. The benefit of e-filing is a reduced number of errors on the return, quick confirmation your return was received by the IRS and in most cases, the state as well.
6. Don’t know whether to take standard or itemized deductions on your return? It depends on how much you spent on medical care, mortgage interest, taxes, charitable contributions, casualty losses, and miscellaneous deductions. If the total of those amounts is larger than the standard deduction, it is usually beneficial to file itemized deductions.
5. Have you heard about VITA? VITA is the IRS’ Volunteer Tax Assistance program. They assist the elderly and those with income less than $49,000. Over 12,000 free tax preparation sites are offered nationwide each year. To find a location near you, call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887.
4. Getting a large refund this year? You are probably having too much tax withheld. Try reducing the number of your exemptions and getting a little more money in each paycheck this year.
3. Like to gamble? Gambling income – which includes, but is not limited to – winnings from lotteries, horse or dog races, raffles, and casinos, as well as the fair market value of non-cash prizes, such as a car, house or trip is taxable. The full amount of your winnings must be reported on line 21 of Form 1040. Losses can be deductible, but you cannot deduct more gambling losses than winnings.
2. Get organized before you set out to complete your tax forms. If you get together all of your W-2s, 1099s (and any other statements you have received in the mail), as well as your tax return from last year, it will be much easier to start and finish the filing process. Being organized makes the process smoother and helps keep you from getting frustrated.
1. Make sure you get that return in the mail or filed no later than April 15. If you cannot get your tax returns completed by that date, file Form 4868. This will give you until October 15 to file your tax return. You still must pay any taxes due by the April 15th deadline.
It’s my hope these tips will help make tax filing a little easier and less painless.
Got any tax tips you’d like to share? Drop us a line!