Personal Tax Return tips


5 Tips for Early Preparation

 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 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.

Filing an Extension

 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. 

Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEVs)

 The Alternative  Motor Vehicle Credit, originally enacted under The Energy Policy Act of  2005, allowed a tax credit for some popular hybrid vehicles.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. 

Credit for the Elderly or Disabled

 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. 

Selling Your Home

 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. 

Filing Deadline and Payment Options

 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. 


Gift Giving

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. 

Marriage or Divorce

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 

Refund, Where's My Refund?

 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.

The TaTax Advocate Service, Provided by the IRS

 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 .

Taxation on Tips

 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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