Tax filing made easier

filing taxesby Diane Quinn

It’s not quite time to panic, but April 15 is looming in the not-too-distance future. Does thinking about tax filing give you a headache? There are ways to make paying your taxes easier and less stressful.

Tax return preparation

Savvy taxpayers know the value of keeping organized tax records. If you haven’t yet reached that elevated category, you can get started now. Retrieve all the information that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires to prove that the numbers you put in your tax form are correct and substantiated. Tax filing is much less complicated when Bankers boxyou follow these tips:

  • Find all your W-2 and 1099 forms. You can’t prepare your tax return without these forms.
  • Gather all documentation that will support any deductions or credit you claim, such as receipts and canceled checks.
  • If a shoe box serves as your filing cabinet instead of an organized tax folder, you might want to consider making an investment in a better method. The more organized you are, the less time it will take you, or a tax specialist, to prepare your return with the added benefit of a lower tax preparation fee if you use a tax professional.
  • Better tax return preparation also improves your chances of paying only what you owe.

Free tax filing

For people making less than $57,000 per year, the IRS now offers a free-file program. This online filing option is available at www.irs.gov, where it’s listed under “Free File” and “Hot Topics.” This service is free for your federal return but not for your state filing.

 

Speed up your tax return

Filing foldersThe IRS promises that if you e-file your return and request direct deposit of money it owes you into your checking account, you should receive your refund in 21 days or less. If you do your tax filing online but request a paper check, the wait for your money could be up to four weeks. Tax returns done the old-fashioned way using paper forms will take four to six weeks to process and mail any return checks.

Free tax filing help

The IRS has a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for those earning $51,000 or less. You can call the program directly at (800) 906-9887 or check the IRS website. If you’re over age 60, the IRS also offers a Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. American Association for Retired People (AARP) volunteers also aid low-and moderate-income people (especially those over age 60) with tax filing as well. More information about AARP counseling is available at www.aarp.org/money/taxes/.

Professional tax service at Jackson Hewitt

You can count also get professional tax preparation services from Jackson Hewitt, whose tax professionals are on top of all the tax law changes and will get you every deduction and credit you’re entitled to. Jackson Hewitt provides quality, professional tax preparation and also has some exciting offers. When you do your taxes with Jackson Hewitt at Sears, Shop Your Way Rewards members can get a coupon for $50  to spend on their next purchase in-store at any Sears or Kmart location*.

Not a Shop Your Way Rewards member?  Sign up for free in-store at the register or online at shopyourway.com. Or, you can switch to Jackson Hewitt and pay $50 less than you paid last year for tax prep. See the Jackson Hewitt tax pros in-store at Sears today for details. To find the closest location to get your taxes done by Jackson Hewitt in Sears, visit JacksonHewitt.com/Sears

*Offer valid for tax preparation fees paid of $150 or more.  Does not apply to an amendment or extension. Product fees excluded. Valid at participating Sears locations only and may not be combined with any other offer.

 

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