Tag Archives: Barry Lisak

Last-minute tips for filing your tax returns


| mrbarrytax@aol.com

The tax filing season is just around the corner. The IRS offers tips for taxpayers still working on their returns.

File electronically. IRS e-file is safe, easy and the most common way to file. E-file is now the norm; not the exception. In 2011, nearly 110 million people used e-file to transmit their returns. If you expect a tax refund, you’ll get the money faster when you e-file, because the IRS processes electronic returns faster than paper ones.

Check all numbers. Carefully check Social Security numbers for each person listed. This includes you, your spouse, dependents and persons listed in relation to claims for Child and Dependent Care or Earned Income Tax Credit. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.

Double-Check Your Figures. If you are filing a paper return, you should double-check that you have correctly figured the refund or balance due.

Check the Tax Tables. If you are filing a paper return, double-check that you have used the right figure from the tax table.

Contribute to Retirement Accounts: If you haven’t made an IRA (deductible or non-deductible) or Roth IRA contribution for 2012, you have until April 15.

Sign Your Form. You must sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.

Electronic Payments. Electronic payment options are convenient, safe and secure methods for paying taxes. You can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal, or use a credit or a debit card.

Can’t Pay the Taxes Due. If you owe taxes but can’t pay the full amount by the deadline, file your tax return on time and pay as much as you can to avoid tax penalties and interest.

Extension to File. By the April due date, you should either file a return or request an extension of time to file, Form 4868. Remember, the extension of time is not an extension of time to pay.

Barry Lisak, EA, is an IRS Enrolled Agent who has operated a tax preparation office for over 30 years. Any questions or comments, please contact mrbarrytax@aol.com or 516-829-7283.

Your Income Tax Filing Status


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY BARRY LISAK

The first step to filing your federal income tax return is to determine which filing status to use. In other words, two people making exactly the same amount of income could have different tax calculations due solely to a difference in their filing status. Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits and deductions, and your correct tax. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.

Here are some facts about the five filing status options the IRS wants you to know so that you can choose the best option for your situation.

1. Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your marital status for the entire year.

2. If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation.

3. Single filing status generally applies to anyone unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.

4. A married couple may file a joint return together. The couple’s filing status would be Married Filing Jointly.

5. If your spouse died during the year and you did not remarry during 2011, you may still file a joint return with that spouse for the year of death.

6. A married couple may elect to file their returns separately. Each person’s filing status would generally be Married Filing Separately.

7. Head of Household generally applies to taxpayers who are unmarried. You must also have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and a qualifying person to qualify for this filing status.

8. You may be able to choose Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child as your filing status if your spouse died during 2009 or 2010, you have a dependent child and you meet certain other conditions.

 

Barry Lisak, EA, is an IRS Enrolled Agent who has operated a tax preparation office for over 30 years. Any questions or comments, please contact mrbarrytax@aol.com or 516-829-7283.