By that subject line you might think that I’m referring to myself! After all, with the tax deadline behind us, I know that some friends of mine have asked if I just “kick back” and put my feet up by the pool the rest of the year.
Actually, no. Not only do I LOVE what we get to do (though yes, I’m definitely still a bit tired right about now), but doing our job well requires that my team and I keep up with continuous changes in the tax code and how we can work to save our clients’ money THROUGHOUT the year, and not just during “tax season”.
So that means we’re diving into our practices from this past tax season these days, all to ensure that we continue to keep our irons sharp and make improvements on how we serve you, year after year. And I do hope our efforts showed this year.
What I’m *actually* referring to by that subject line is the annual observance of “Tax Freedom Day”. This is 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. 🙁
This year, it was on Sunday, April the 24th. The date varies year to year (this year it is actually one day earlier than 2015), and more information is here:http://bit.ly/1NtHRGD
The calculating organization is the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan 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 pay more in taxes than they did on food, clothing and shelter — combined.
Which, of course, is why I and my staff are working as we do, throughout the entire year: We are about 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 here is a brief rundown on the common ones.
Joshua Ortego’s Three Tax Questions After Filing
“It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater to accept it graciously.” – Logan Pearsall Smith
The big rush to get everything filed is finished. At least, of course, if you didn’t file for an extension.
It does feel nice, even if more money was owed than you would like … because it *is* completed, after all.
But that doesn’t mean you may not still have tax questions. Here are some common ones we get 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://1.usa.gov/1NtJm7C ] • 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]
2. “Do I need to keep a copy of my return?”
Yes, for a *minimum* of three years, but we recommend forever. 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’ll 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.
I’ll give even more guidance on this issue in subsequent weeks.
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.
• For some strange reason, you did NOT have us prepare your return!
You might have other tax questions, which I haven’t addressed here. Let me know!
To more of your money staying in your wallet,
Joshua L Ortego, CPA