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Sun, Nov 23, 2014

Organize paperwork now to get head start on tax season

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A new year is just around the corner, and tax season isn’t far behind.

Ring in 2012 with peace of mind -- get tax paperwork in order now, says one local CPA.

“Start accumulating documents,” advises Rebecca Upton, accounting supervisor with Dempsey Vantrease & Follis, PLLC.  

While most won’t have year-end documents, charitable contribution paperwork should have been received by now, she says.

“Now is the time for tax planning,” Upton continued. “If they have a lot of income, and they want to make an additional charitable contribution, those need to be done before the end of the year.”

She also suggested paying any taxes due before year’s end.

When deciding how to file income taxes, Upton says residents should take into account the complexity of their financial situation.

“If you have simple returns, for the most part, that’s the best way to save money,” she said of Turbo Tax, H&R Block and other quick-turnaround tax filing options.

“If you have anything complex, that’s when I would take it to a CPA firm. They can offer advice that you may not be offered in a one-stop-shop type place.”

Again, Upton emphasized gathering and organizing paperwork in preparation of tax season.

“Just make sure you have everything -- if you bought or sold a home, make sure you have closing statements -- make sure anything you’ve done financially throughout the year is (on-hand),” she said. “You may be able to use it, you may not, but it’s beneficial to the tax preparer to know what’s there.”

Congress just passed a two-month U.S. Payroll Tax-Cut Extension, but Upton says this mostly concerns employers with regards to filing income tax returns. She added that no new legislation has been passed directly affecting individuals.

The deadline for filing income tax returns is Tuesday, April 17, which varies from the traditional date of April 15. This year, the 15th falls on a Sunday and is followed by Emancipation Day on April 16.

Additionally, those who have not filed 2010 taxes can still do so.

“It’s never too late, but you will have incurred a ‘failure to file’ penalty and will probably have some penalty and interest on any payment that was due,” Upton said.

Many questions can be answered at visiting www.irs.gov. The website also offers useful links and helpful tips for filing tax returns.

Connect with the IRS
The IRS uses new and social media tools to share the latest information on tax changes, initiatives, products and services.

IRS has launched IRS2Go, a smartphone application that lets you interact with the IRS using your mobile device. The mobile application includes the following features:
• Get your refund status;
• Get tax updates; and
• Follow the IRS

The IRS participates on the following social media platforms, including:
• YouTube – The IRS has video channels that provide short, informative videos on various tax related topics in English, American Sign Language (ASL) and a variety of foreign languages.
• Twitter – IRS tweets include various tax-related announcements, news for tax professionals and hiring initiatives.
• Facebook – IRS has Facebook pages that post valuable tax information for tax professionals and those needing help in resolving long standing issues with the IRS.

Additionally, the IRS has developed its own new media tools to help share important tax information.

Audio files for Podcasts
The IRS creates audio files for use in podcasts. These short audio recordings provide useful information on one tax related topic. The audio files and their transcripts can be found in the Multimedia Center on IRS.gov. These files are also available as podcasts on iTunes.

Widgets
Widgets are tools that can be placed on websites, blogs or social media networks to direct others to IRS.gov for information. The IRS has developed a variety of widgets that feature the latest tax initiatives and programs. These widgets can be found on Marketing Express, the marketing site that allows IRS partners and tax preparers to customize their IRS communications products.

Protect Your Identity
At the IRS, privacy and security are paramount. We are using these tools to share information with you. Do not post any confidential information on new or social media sites, especially your social security number or confidential information. Always protect your identity when using any social networking site.

We will not be able to answer personal tax or account questions on any of these sites.

Please visit IRS.gov more information about the IRS or any of the programs or initiatives we share through new and social media.

Get connected.

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