What a terrible week we suffered through as a nation last week. I’m still trying to process all of it, honestly, here in my Long Island and Stamford tax offices.
Life does continue, however, and as such we’re starting to catch our breath around here, after a busier-than-normal tax season. Lots of our Long Island and Stamford clients are on extension (an unfortunate consequence of longer-than-normal IRS delays this year from the last-minute tax deal), so we’ll continue to be around and advising our families and business owners on the best ways to continue their tax minimization strategies.
On that note, I have to point out: last Thursday (the 18th) was our “Tax Freedom Day” — that’s the date pegged as the date when you’ve finally worked enough days to pay off your taxes. The rest of the year is your “take home” pay. 🙁
The date varies year to year (this year it is five days later than last), and more information is here: http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday/.
(And for some states, the date is even later. Here’s the state-by-state breakdown: http://taxfoundation.org/article/map-tax-freedom-day-state-2013 )
The calculating organization is the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan educational organization dedicated to informing US — the taxpayers — about the burdens of our tax liabilities, and according to the Foundation, here’s a fun little fact: Americans paid more taxes in 2012 than they did on food, clothing and shelter combined.
Which, of course, is why we here at Michael J. Kessler, CPA are here: keeping your tax bill as low as legally and ethically possible.
But we also deal with lots of questions this time of year related to a variety of “post-preparation” issues, so I thought I’d address many of them in one swell foop. Which is not at all to say that we won’t answer YOUR questions. Here are our numbers: (516) 449-2852 or (203) 658-5092
On to the questions…
What To Do When The Taxes Are Done, Per Your Favorite Long Island and Stamford Tax Expert
It’s a familiar feeling.
Relief. Exhilaration (or frustration at having to pay *more* taxes!). Gratitude for a job well done by your preparer.
But that doesn’t mean you may not still have questions. Here are some common ones we get from Long Island and Stamford taxpayers this week…
1. “When will I get my refund?”
Well, the IRS does seem to have entered the 21st century.
If you had us “e-file” your return, you can check your status right now, or if you had us mail a paper return, after about 3 to 4 weeks.
When you’re checking with the following options, make sure you have a copy of your tax return on hand or know your “filing status”, SSN and the exact dollar amount of the anticipated refund.
• Online: Go to IRS.gov and click on Where’s My Refund.
[or go right to: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html ]
• Automated Phone: Call 1-800-829-4477 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for automated refund information.
• In-Person Phone: Call 1-800-829-1954 during the hours shown in your IRS form instructions. [Of course, the hold time for the IRS is … somewhat of an issue — and they’re closed for five days this month because of the furloughs 🙂]
2. “Do I need to keep a copy of my return?”
Yes, for a *minimum* of three years. There’s all kinds of contexts where it’s useful. We do keep one on file, on your behalf, but it’s just smart and safe for you to keep one in a secure place at home. (I’ve already written about Amended Returns, and you need a copy for that process, of course).
As for the supporting documents from your return, anything that relates to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, retirement, business or rental property, should be kept much longer than the three years.
3. “I think there’s a mistake in my return. What should I do?”
Sometimes, you’ll find a receipt or a documentation after April 15th which really would have changed your prior year tax return. That’s, again, when you would have us file an “Amended Return”. Here are some other, common reasons to Amend…
• You neglected to report some income earned.
• You claimed deductions or credits you should not have claimed.
• You did not claim deductions or credits you could have claimed.
• You filed under one filing status, but you should have filed under another.
You might have other questions, which I haven’t addressed here. Let me know!
PS — For those of our clients who have previous years’ tax returns at another preparer, OR for their friends…
“No Charge” Return Review
Special Gift Certificate
As a complimentary service this year, we will provide a Return Review To Any Non-Client.
We will also review prior year returns from clients who did NOT have us handle their taxes during the year under question. No charge will be made, unless we have to file an amended return. Email our office or call (516) 449-2852 or (203) 658-5092 to set up this complimentary service!
Deadline May 10th