Thursday, February 9, 2012

Checklist Before You E-file Or Mail Your Tax Return

To start off here is a bit of information you should know about what has changed for your 2011 taxes!
Taken from,,id=254023,00.html
on The I.R.S. Website

IRS Tax Tip 2012-27, February 9, 2012

Before you file your 2011 federal income tax return in 2012, you should be aware of a few important tax changes that took effect in 2011. Check before you file for updates on any new legislation that may affect your tax return.

Due date of return. File your federal tax return by April 17, 2012. The due date is April 17, instead of April 15, because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia.

New forms. In most cases, you must report your capital gains and losses on the new Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets. Then, you report certain totals from that form on Schedule D (Form 1040). If you had foreign financial assets in 2011, you may have to file the new Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets, with your return.

Standard mileage rates. The 2011 rates for mileage are different for January 1 through June 30 than for July 1 through December 31. For business use of your car, you can deduct 51 cents a mile for miles driven the first half of the year and 55 ½ cents for the second half. Medical and moving mileage are both 19 cents per mile for the early half of the year and 23 ½ cents in the latter half.

Standard deduction and exemptions increased.
  • The standard deduction increased for some taxpayers who do not itemize deductions on IRS Schedule A (Form 1040). The amount depends on your filing status.
  • The amount you can deduct for each exemption has increased $50 to $3,700 for 2011.
Self-employed health insurance deduction. This deduction is no longer allowed on Schedule SE (Form 1040), but you can still take it on Form 1040, line 29.
Alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount increased.
The AMT exemption amount has increased to $48,450 ($74,450 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er); $37,225 if married filing separately).

Health savings accounts (HSAs) and Archer MSAs.
The additional tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs not used for qualified medical expenses increased to 20 percent. Beginning in 2011, only prescribed drugs or insulin are qualified medical expenses.

Roth IRAs. If you converted or rolled over an amount from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA or designated Roth in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, you generally must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return.

Alternative motor vehicle credit. You can claim the alternative motor vehicle credit for a 2011 purchase only if the vehicle is a new fuel cell motor vehicle.

First-time homebuyer credit. The credit expired for most taxpayers for 2011. Some military personnel and members of the intelligence community can still claim the credit in 2011 for qualified purchases.

Health coverage tax credit. Recent legislation changed the amount of this credit, which pays qualified health insurance premiums for eligible individuals and their families. Participants who received the 65 percent tax credit in any month from March to December 2011 may claim an additional 7.5 percent retroactive credit when they file their 2011 tax return.

Mailing a return. The IRS changed the filing location for several areas. If you're mailing a paper return, see the Form 1040 instructions for the correct address.

Detailed information on these changes can be found on the IRS website –


Intro & Ways To Keep Track Of Your Refund

With all that said lets talk about what you should check before you file your taxes! The easiest thing would be for me to say EVERYTHING, but I want you guys to get some useful information out of this thing!

Over 99,123 taxpaying Americans have filed their returns but didn't follow up when the refund didn't come. I don't know what kind of happy-go-lucky life they have where they don't need that money! If you're one of those individuals and you want to enlighten me on your secret to financial freedom, by all means I'll ignore my tax return as well! In case you were wondering, all those lost tax returns equals over 153 MILLION dollars!

Now, if there isn't some big conspiracy that involves vast wealth from turning down other wealth, and you're one of those unlucky individuals that actually wants their return, the money is there, and you can visit the Internal Revenue Service's online refund tracker Where's My Refund? This nifty tool will post the status of your refund and sometimes it can give you the reason the delivery failed.

Some not-so-tech-savvy people can still reach The IRS through their automated refund tracking toll-free number(bet you're itching to hear that machine voice tell you to press buttons for selections already!) The number is (800)-829-1954.

For the uber-tech-savvy people who are glued to their smart phones, the IRS has an app for that! IRS2Go is the premiere app that allows you to check the status of your refund in real time!

As with any of these methods for retrieving your refund you'll need your Social Security Number, filing status and expected refund amount to use this app.

The app has several other features as well, such as signing up for IRS tax updates and for following the IRS on the popular social network Twitter. The final fold-out option of this smart phone Swiss army knife is the IRS2Go's “contacts” sections, which has numbers and hours of operation for all the IRS's tax assistance lines.

The IRS2Go app is free and availiable at both the Apple App Store and the Android Market.

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Common Mistakes People Have Made
First off, always make sure you double-check all of your return before you send it. Make a mental checklist in your head of these following things:

Is my address correct?
  • Are my line entries on my 1040 correct?
  • Is my Social Security Number correct?
  • Is my handwriting legible?
  • Are all my entries filled out to the best of my ability?
  • Did I sign everywhere I should?
  • Is the address on the envelope correct?
  • Do I have proper decimal positions and correct punctuation?
  • Is this the address I will be at by the time my refund arrives?
  • Do I have the proper filing status?(Married if married, single if single)
  • Do I have all the correct dependents listed? 

Remember to Double Check These Things Before Sending In Your Return
  • Both spouses must sign a joint return
  • All proper forms are together
  • If you owe money, make your checks payable to the U.S. Treasury, not the IRS.
  • Make a hard copy for your records
  • Use plenty of postage! 
The IRS Wants You To E-file
These tips may only take a few minutes but can save you weeks of stress by making sure you are filed correctly the first time! This is in regards to both paper mail and electronic tax filing. E-filing your taxes can save you from many common problems because of software like Online Tax Pros which will double check for many errors automatically. Qualified tax preparers are standing by to answer your tax questions and they keep current on tax law changes. We can not only save you time, but money from your return by filing with us this tax season! We hope you have a stress-free tax season with a huge refund this year!
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