Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last Minute Tax Tips

Even though the deadline for filing taxes has passed, many taxpayers have not filed their taxes. If you are getting a refund you have to file within 3 years from the current tax year but you do not need to file an extension. After that, the penalty for not filing your taxes is forfeiture of your tax refund.

If you don’t file and you are getting a refund will receive a letter from the IRS reminding you to file your tax return, especially if W-2 or 1099 forms were reported to the IRS by your employer.  If you owe taxes and don’t file you will get a letter from the IRS reminding you to pay.

To determine if you have to file taxes 3 things are considered:  your filing status, your age and your income.  Once you reach a certain income level, the law requires you to file. Older individuals and blind individuals must determine if they need to file a Form 1040.

Children file when taxes when: they earned income as a salary, wages or tips or earned a taxable scholarship or fellowship grant; or earned income from investment interest or dividends, capital gains, unemployment benefits and some distribution of a trust fund.

For 2011, if you are under 65: single and earned $9,500, head of household and earned $12,200, married filing jointly and earned $19,000, widow/widower and earned $15,300 or married filing separately and earned $3,700, sold your home or are self-employed you have to file taxes. For more information review the 2011 IRS Publication 17.

Here are 3 tips if you can’t pay your taxes:
  1. You can setup an installment agreement and pay the amount owed in 3 years. 
  2. Request an extension and request the maximum extension time of 6 months.
  3. Request an Offer in Compromise.  An offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount if you meet certain requirements.
Here are 4 ways to file your taxes for free:
  1. Free Software.  If your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less you can use free tax software such as:  Turbo Tax, Free TaxAct, Tax Slayer or H&R Block’s Free File.
  2. Use Free Forms.  Anyone can use free file fillable forms from freefilefillableforms.com.  The site provides online versions of paper federal tax forms.
  3. File Electronically. Efile (electronically) your tax return for free by using direct deposit or pay your taxes online for free.
  4. Paper forms.  Use paper tax forms to file your taxes and mail them to the IRS.  The only cost is postage.
 Legal action can be taken against you by the IRS if you owe taxes and don’t pay: it will be reported on your credit report, you can receive a tax lien, garnishment, judgment, lose your property at a tax auction or other means. Therefore, it is best file your taxes every year.

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