ANSWERS

WHEN IS MY TAX RETURN DUE?

Your tax return is due on April 15th. This date usually stays the same every year except when it falls on a weekend or national holiday. For example, in 2012 it was affected by both. This pushed forward the due date for tax returns to April 17th.

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What do I bring to my accountant to get started?

Before you visit us, make sure you bring any documents sent from the IRS for the year being filed including W2's, 1098's (mortgage interest documents), 1099's (subcontractor documents), property taxes (real estate/vehicle) and/or dividend interests. You also want to bring in any other expenses you had throughout the year such as medical and/or education expenses (See a list of deductions here).

Also, we will have to have personal information like full names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for yourself and any dependants you are claiming. Our Personal Tax Information Form can help us to keep your information accurate, so bring this in as well. If you're a new client to A.L. Wood & Associates, make sure you bring us a tax return from a previous year along with the information above.

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What does it mean to "e-File" my taxes?

E-File is the term for electronic filing, or sending your income tax return from tax software via the internet to the IRS or state tax authority. Benefits of filing taxes electronically over mailing in your return are that you will receive a tax refund sooner, there's a greatly reduced chance of human keying or document scanning errors, and the process costs 20 times less than a paper return, which saves taxpayers a lot of money.

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What does it mean to file an extension?

An extension is a way to ask the IRS for more time to file your tax return. When you file an extension, the deadline to file a tax return changes to October 15th. However, an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay. If you owe the IRS or your state tax authority, you should make your payment when you send in your extension by the April 15th deadline.

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How do I file an extension?

If you are already a client of A.L. Wood & Associates, just call us or visit our offices and tell us your name. We will fill out the appropriate paperwork and file an extension for you. If you are not a client, you will need to visit our offices and give us your personal information and any tax forms you may have.

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How can a mistake be corrected on a filed tax return?

If there's a mistake on your tax return, we would amend it. An amended return is a form (1040X) that makes a change to the original filed return. Most people file an amended return because a mistake(s) was made on the original one. Some may also file an amended return to change their status (For example, married filing separately to married filing jointly). Sometimes, an amended return must be filed to make a change due to a notification letter from the IRS

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What is a tax deduction?

A tax deduction is a reduction of a taxpayer's total income that decreases the amount of money used in calculating the tax due. Essentially, it is a break granted by the government. It reduces taxes by a percentage that is dependent upon the income bracket of the taxpayer.

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What can I use as a tax deduction?

This is NOT a full list of deductables. It is a list of only the most commonly used ones. Limitations apply to many of the deductables. If you want to know about these limitations or if something can be used as a tax deduction, ask us in the form at the top of the page or give us a call.

MEDICAL EXPENSES. Including…

  • Doctor or physicians.
  • Dental treatments: braces, dentures, etc.
  • Medical aids: wheelchairs, hearing aids, eye correction, crutches, etc.
  • Medications: prescribed medications and insulin.
  • Health insurance premiums paid by you.

EDUCATION EXPENSES. To be deductable, the course of education must be expressly required by an employer, by law or by government regulation, or the course must maintain or improve skills required in performing a present job. Even if the required standards are met, one can NOT deduct the cost of education to…

  • Help return to a job, business or profession.
  • Meet the minimal requirements for a trade or business.
  • Qualify for a new job, trade or business.

CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS. Includes money or property given to…

  • Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious organizations.
  • Federal, state or local governments, if contribution is solely for public purposes.
  • Nonprofit parks and recreation facilities.
  • Public charities such as Salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys/Girls Clubs of America, etc.
  • War veterans' groups.

TAXES. Including…

  • State and local income taxes.
  • State and local general sales taxes.
  • Real estate taxes.
  • Vehicle property taxes.
  • Cooperative housing corporations (Co-Ops).
  • Special assessments: maintenance, repairs or interest.

INTEREST. Including…

  • Business interest.
  • Capitalized interest.
  • Student loan interest: limited to $2,500.
  • Investment interest.
  • Mortgage interest.
  • Passive activity interest.

JOB COSTS. Including…

  • Home phone service: long distance business calls, cost of second phone in home for business use, extra features (e.g. call waiting, call forwarding) if needed for business and if none are reimbursed by your employer.
  • Uniforms and work clothes: has to be a condition of employment, not adaptable to everyday wear and paid for by employee.
  • Job-hunting expenses: recruitment and agency fees, cost of printing and sending resumes, portfolio assembly/printing costs, etc.

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How long will it take to get my tax refund?

After your tax return has been filed, it should take 7 to 10 days for direct deposit and 3 to 4 weeks in the mail. If you do not recieve your tax refund on time, you can check your refund status online at www.irs.gov and click on "Where's My Refund" or call 1-800-829-1040; if you check online or call, be sure to have your refund amount, filing status and Social Security Number. Once A.L. Wood & Associates files your tax return, we have NO control over when your tax refund will come; it's completely up to the IRS.

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How do I know if my child qualifies as a dependent?

A qualifying child will meet six these six qualifiers…

  • Relationship: The child must be a descendant (e.g. son, daughter, stepchild, brother, sister, adopted child, eligible foster child, etc.)
  • Age: the child must be under age 19 and younger than taxpayer, under 24 if a full-time student, or any age if totally and permanently disabled.
  • Residency: the child must live in the same residence as the taxpayer.
  • Support: the child can not provide over half of his own support
  • Joint Return: If child is married, he/she must NOT have filed a joint return.
  • Tie-Breaker rules: if a child is the qualifying child of more than one person (i.e. divorced parents) then the tie-breaker rules determine who can claim the child. Contact us if you need more details on Tie-Breaker rules.

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