1. Gather your records in advance. Make sure you have all the records you need, including W-2s and 1099s. Don't forget to save a copy for your files.
2. Get the right forms. They're available around the clock on IRS.gov in the Forms and Publications section.
3. Take your time. Rushing can cause you to make a mistake and that can be expensive!
4. Double-check your math and Social Security number. These are among the most common errors on tax returns. Taking care on these reduces your chances of hearing from the IRS.
5. Get the fastest refund. When you file early, you get your refund faster. Using e-filing with direct deposit gets you a refund in half the time as paper filing.
If you can't meet the April 15 deadline to file your tax return, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS. The extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork into the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amounts not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have paid less than 90 percent of your total tax by that date. You must make an accurate estimate of any tax due when you request an extension.
The Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit, originally enacted under The Energy Policy Act of 2005, allowed a tax credit for some popular hybrid vehicles. However, this tax credit expired at the end of 2010. Although the former credit for many hybrid vehicles is no longer available for 2012 and future tax years, a tax credit of up to $7,500 is still available for vehicles classified as plug-in electric vehicles, or PEVs.
You may be able to take the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled if you were age 65 or older at the end of last year, or if you are retired on permanent and total disability, according to the IRS. Like any other tax credit, it's a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill. The maximum amount of this credit is constantly changing.
If you sold your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) from your federal tax return. This exclusion is allowed each time that you sell your main home, but generally no more frequently than once every two years.
If you're trying to beat the tax deadline, there are several options for last-minute help. If you need a form or publication, you can download copies from the Forms page on our website. If you find you need more time to finish your return, you can get a six month extension of time to file using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. And if you have trouble paying your tax bill, the IRS has several payment options available. The extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due.
If you gave any one person gifts valued at more than $13,000, it is necessary to report the total gift to the Internal Revenue Service. You may even have to pay tax on the gift.
Newlyweds and the recently divorced should make sure that names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch between a name on the tax return and a Social Security number (SSN) could cause your tax return to be rejected by the IRS
Are you expecting a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service this year? If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date IRS receives your return. If you file your return electronically, your refund should be issued in about half the time it would take if you filed a paper return — even faster when you choose direct deposit.
Have you tried everything to resolve a tax problem with the IRS but are still experiencing delays? Are you facing what you consider to be an economic burden or hardship due to IRS collection or other actions? If so, you can seek the assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate Service or by calling the IRS directly at (877)-777-4778 .
Do you work at a hair salon, barber shop, casino, golf course, hotel, or restaurant or drive a taxicab? The tip income you receive as an employee, by cash or charge, from those services is taxable income, according to the IRS.
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