IRS officially begins tax season
February 08, 2013 12:17 AM | 4259 views | 3 3 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
William G. Lako Jr.<br>Business Columnist
William G. Lako Jr.
Business Columnist
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It is official — tax season has begun. The IRS began accepting 2012 tax filings last week on January 30th after a brief delay so the IRS could update forms and their procedures to account for changes created by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

That’s right, the 2012 act not only affected 2013 and subsequent tax years, but some rules were retroactive for 2012, which means a delay for both taxpayers to file and for the IRS to process the returns. If you are taking advantage of the expanded American Opportunity Tax Credit for education expenses, the IRS will begin accepting returns mid-February. Filers taking business credits, residential energy credits or depreciation deductions likely will have to wait even longer to file. In fact, there are 30 forms listed on the IRS website that 1040 filers may need to file that may not be accepted until March.

Creating another potential impediment for those hoping for a quick refund check, the IRS has expanded their fraud prevention efforts this year. The storied government agency has added more than 1,500 employees to work on identity theft and refund fraud issues.

The aforementioned delays may cause tax advisers, preparers and CPAs to be pressed for time if they are unable to file some returns until mid season. To get the most out of your tax expert, preparation on your part will likely make a difference.

Start by segregating your records into related categories. The less your tax preparer has to search for a document, the more time he should be able to spend making sure you harvest all the deductions you are entitled to make. If you are unsure of what documents you need to collect, start by reviewing 2011’s tax return. If you had similar expenses in 2012, look for the documents to substantiate those claims. Some tax preparers offer a questionnaire or organizer that will walk you through the process of collecting your data.

Make sure you have all the needed tax reporting forms from your employers. Some employers may be late sending W-2 or 1099 forms, because they too had to adjust their processes thanks to the last-minute tax act. Once you receive the forms, make sure they reconcile with what you earned. If you notice a mistake, you’ll want to obtain a corrected form before you submit your records to your tax preparer.

While not every receipt or document will result in a deduction, you should still alert your tax preparer to the following: medical expenses incurred during the year; a change in marital status; new additions to your household whether it is the birth of a child or a dependent parent who moved in; mortgage interest and refinance statements; receipts for energy-efficient home improvements or vehicles; work-related receipts; moving expenses if you moved for work; student loan statements; Roth conversions; inherited property or investments and receipts or proof of donations you made.

William G. Lako Jr., CFP, is an executive in residence at Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business and a principal at Henssler Financial. Lako is a certified financial planner.The MDJ will periodically publish columns from KSU business faculty.
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unfair deadlines
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February 08, 2013
Also, 1099-B and some 1099-INT forms aren't being sent out until mid February. I find it absolutely infuriating that everyone gets to slip their dates but the tax payer. We still have to pay by April 15. Not only that, there is a provision that if you pay estimated taxes, you don't have to pay 4th quarter by January 15 if you file by January 31. However with everyone including the IRS dragging their feet on when you can start filing, filing by January 31 is basically impossible if you have any kind of investment.
Shammykiss
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February 08, 2013
Are they accepting 1099 Filers as yet? This is so inconvenient, I was counting on that money to help with my downpayment for a house. Gotta wait now.
William G Lako, CFP®
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February 08, 2013
Assuming you are talking about your 1099-MISC, which would generally be for contract labor, we have successfully e-filed returns with that 1099, and they have been accepted. I hope this helps.
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