TaxSlayer Blog is your source for tax preparation news, tips and advice.
Now that tax season is over, you’re left with your tax records and hopefully a little of your refund as well! Many taxpayers often wonder how long should I keep my tax records. Is it 1 year, 2 years or until the end of the world? The IRS suggests holding onto most tax records for three years; however, some records such as a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRA and business or rental property should be kept longer. In addition to keeping tax records, the IRS states taxpayers should keep all documents that may have an impact on your federal return. This includes: • Bills • Credit card and other receipts • Invoices • Mileage logs • Canceled, Imaged or substitute checks • Proof of payment • Other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return Speaking of deductions, did you know TaxSlayer.com has a feature that allows you to efficiently manage and track your deductions? “My Deductions” allows you to input all of your monetary, stock, mileage and noncash item deductions, as well as your employment and medical expenses. The beauty of this feature is that you can import these deductions directly into your tax return AND it will save you time when completing your tax return! To access the My Deductions tracker, login to your TaxSlayer.com account, then click on the My Deductions link. Once inside the My Deductions menu, you can add your deductions as they occur throughout the year.
In addition to having two extra days to meet the tax deadline this year, taxpayers also have two extra days to make contributions to their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). This is great news for those searching for additional deductions because you may be able to deduct some or all of your contributions. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind for your IRA contributions: You must make contributions for 2011 by April 17, 2012. For 2011, the most you can contribute to your traditional IRA is generally the smaller of the following amounts: $5,000 for most taxpayers, $6,000 for taxpayers who were 50 or older at the end of 2011 or the amount of your taxable compensation for the year. To contribute to an IRA, you or your spouse (if you file a joint tax return) must have taxable compensation. Examples of taxable compensation include: wages, salaries, commissions, tips, bonuses, or net income from self-employment. To contribute to a Traditional IRA, you must be under age 70 1/2 at the end of the tax year. This is a great opportunity to save last minute tax deductions. TaxSlayer.com’s Deduction Guide will make entering your contributions easy and guide you step-by-step. Try it today and then relax knowing that you have completed your tax return!
The deadline for filing your individual tax return will be April 17th this year. You must ensure that your return is filed no later than this date to ensure that you avoid any late filing penalties that may be levied by the IRS if you wait until after the deadline. TaxSlayer.com is FAST and EASY and can make sure that you maximize your tax refund. There are a few different scenarios to consider when filing your tax return: Filing with a refund: This is by far the easiest scenario to consider. The IRS owes YOU money; by filing as early as possible you can ensure that the money is in your pocket as quickly as possible. If you are having your refund direct deposited into a checking or savings account you can receive your refund in as little as 8-10 days. With this being said, if the IRS owes you a refund you have up to 3 years to file the return before the IRS disallows it. Filing with an amount owed: If you owe money on your tax return, you should file AND pay the amount due by the April deadline. However, if you are unable to pay the amount due immediately, it is still in your best interest to file the return itself on time to avoid late filing penalties. You can also set up a payment arrangement with the IRS to minimize any interest that you may owe. Regardless of your personal restrictions on ability to pay it is always more beneficial to make sure the return itself is filed by the deadline. Inability to file: there are some extenuating circumstances that make it impossible to file on time. If you are unable to file on time you may be able to get an automatic 6 month extension on the deadline by filing form 4868 Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File. If you owe on your tax return, you can avoid the filing penalty when you file form 4868, however, you may be subject to interest and penalties. In order to minimize your exposure to possible interest and penalties you should send in either a full payment or as much as you can toward your tax owed. TaxSlayer.com makes it easier than ever to file your automatic extension. By paying careful attention to your specific situation, and using TaxSlayer.com and all of its amazing features, you can ensure that this tax season is as stress free as possible. Get started TODAY.
Year after year we have customers who come to us with tax questions. These questions aren’t simply support issues with the software but rather specific and detailed tax issues that may require the input of a CPA or an Enrolled Agent. We have always done everything we could to help with these questions but now we are taking it a step farther. TaxSlayer is now pleased to offer one on one tax advice to all of our premium users. We will connect you directly with a CPA or EA who can promptly and specifically answer your tax question. These aren’t generic answers, each member of our expert team will take the time to review your specific case and provide personalized guidance and advice. Best of all, this service is absolutely FREE to our premium users. Tax time is stressful enough as it is and sometimes certain topics can be very confusing. Make sure you take advantage of this great new feature today and get started with TaxSlayer.com!