2006-03-17 / Community

IRS Provides The Top Ten Tax Tips For 2005

With the April 18 tax deadline approaching, the Internal Revenue Service has help for New York's 8.8 million taxpayers. "Looking for ways to avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? The IRS offers some stress relieving ideas to help those that have not yet filed," said IRS spokesperson Kevin McKeon.

"There is no need to be in line at the post office at the eleventh hour on April 18," said McKeon. "Our best advice: e-file now, pay later. You can electronically file your return now and schedule a payment via an electronic funds withdrawal from a bank account on April 18. If you are due a refund, you can e-file with direct deposit and get your money in as little as two weeks."

The IRS offers these ten tax tips:

Get Started Now . Don't wait until the last minute. You may overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error. Tax preparation time can be significantly reduced if you develop a system for organizing records and receipts. Start with the income, deduction or tax credit items that were on last year's return.

Visit www.IRS.gov . Millions of taxpayers visited the IRS website, www. irs.gov , in 2005, downloading forms, publications and a variety of topic-oriented tax information. Anyone with Internet access can also find tax law information and answers to frequently asked tax questions.

E-file . Through March 9, over 2.4 million New Yorkers have already filed using the e-file program. Aside from the ease of filing, IRS e-file is the fastest and most accurate way to file a tax return.

Check Eligibility For The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) . The credit is available to lower-income New York workers and could be as much as $4,400 in extra cash or tax credits. Last year more than 1.4 million New York taxpayers claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, totally over $2.5 billion- an average of $1,807 per tax return.

Have Your Refund Deposited Directly To Your Bank Account. Another way to speed up your refund and reduce the chance of theft is to have the amount deposited directly to your bank account. Check the tax instructions for details on entering the routing and account numbers on your tax return.

Choose A Tax Preparer Wisely. While most preparers provide excellent service to their clients, the IRS urges taxpayers to be careful when choosing a tax preparer. Even if someone else prepared your return, you are legally responsible for all the information on the tax return. Don't fall for scams or tax avoidance schemes.

Get Free Phone Tax Help. The IRS offers recorded messages on about 150 tax topics through its toll free TeleTax service at 1-800-829-4477. It also offers federal tax forms and publications at 1-800-829-3676. The IRS also staffs a Tax Help Line for individuals at 1-800-829-1040. The help line is staffed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays.

Prepare An Accurate Return. Review your return for possible math errors and make sure names and Social Security are correct and legible

Check Out The New Online Tool For Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) . The AMT Assistance on IRS. gov helps taxpayers determine whether or not they may be subject to the AMT by automating the AMT Worksheet of the 1040 Instructions. IRS estimates most taxpayers can make entries and get an answer in five to ten minutes using the new application.

Seek Free Tax Return Preparation Through Volunteer Programs . Free tax help is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. The free VITA program services are available to taxpayers with incomes of $38,000 or less, non-English speaking and the disabled. The free TCE program services are available to taxpayers 60 years of age or older. To obtain the location, dates and hours of the VITA or TCE volunteer sites, call the IRS toll-free Tax Help Line at 1-800-829-1040, AARP at 1-888-227-7669, or 311.

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