IRS Offers Fall Tax Tips

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MOUNTAINSIDE – The Internal Revenue Service wants to remind taxpayers that the fall is a good time to conduct a review of their tax situation.  Take into account the latest tax changes, check your withholding status and start organizing your records.  Remember to avoid any unsolicited e-mails claiming to come from the IRS.  Don’t become a victim of “phishing” scams.

“Some tax breaks and a review of your current tax situation may result in a bigger refund or less taxes to be paid come tax time,” said New Jersey’s IRS spokesperson Gregg Semanick.  “The Internal Revenue Service offers these tax tips for you to consider.”

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Don’t Miss Out on Recovery Tax Provisions
The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to take advantage of the numerous tax breaks made available earlier this year in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The recovery law provides tax incentives for first-time homebuyers, people purchasing new cars, those interested in making their homes more energy efficient and parents and students paying for college.

But all of these incentives have expiration dates so taxpayers should take advantage of them while they can.  For more information on the Recovery tax provisions, the IRS encourages taxpayers to go to the IRS.gov home page and access the Tax Benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 section.

Educators Should Save Receipts for Tax Break
The IRS reminds teachers and other educators to save their receipts.  The Educator Expense Deduction allows teachers and other educators to deduct the cost of books, supplies, equipment and software used in the classroom based on their receipts.  Eligible educators include those who work at least 900 hours during a school year in an elementary or secondary school.  Worth up to $250, the deduction is available whether or not the educator itemizes deductions.

IRS Offers Help to Small Business Owners
The small business section of IRS.gov provides a one-stop resource for information on starting, operating and closing a business.  Whether a person is just considering opening a business or has years of small business experience, IRS provides a wide range of resource tools and educational assistance. The IRS also offers an “A-Z Index for Businesses” to assist small business owners in readily locating desired information.  For more information, go to the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center on IRS.gov at www.irs.gov/smallbiz.

Check Your Withholding Status at IRS.gov
The Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to take a few minutes to check their withholding to make sure what is being taken out of their paychecks matches their projected taxes.  If not enough is withheld; individuals will owe tax at the end of the year and may, in some cases, have to pay a penalty.  If too much tax is withheld, they will lose the use of this money until they get their refund.

Individuals should check their withholding if there are significant personal or financial changes in their life.  Many of these changes involve the addition or reduction of exemptions or a change in filing status that alters the tax liability, even if there has been no change in income.  These changes include: marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, purchase or sale of a new home, or retirement.  Other changes that can alter the amount that needs to be withheld include taking a second job, having a spouse go back to work, or receiving income not subject to withholding, such as rent, dividends, interest, or capital gains.

On-line assistance is available at the IRS.gov web site.  Click on “IRS Withholding Calculator” on the “Individuals” page.  With the help of current pay stubs and a copy of last year’s tax form, users can check to see if they are withholding the right amount.  Information from this automated calculator can then be used to revise a W-4 with your employer.

Maintain Good Tax Records
You can avoid headaches at tax time by keeping track of your receipts and other records throughout the year. Good recordkeeping will help you remember the various transactions you made during the year, which in turn may make filing your return a less taxing experience.  Remember, good recordkeeping will ensure you do not miss out on any tax deductions.  Publication 552 will help you in knowing what records you need.

Don’t Get Hooked by “Phishing” Scams
The IRS reminds taxpayers not to become a victim of e-mail scams, referred to as phishing scams.  Recipients of questionable e-mails claiming to come from the IRS should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the e-mails. Instead, they should forward the e-mails to phishing@irs.gov.  Remember, the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers.

Visit IRS.gov Web site
IRS.gov provides a wealth of information.  You can access tax forms and publications; learn about electronic filing; check the status of your refund; calculate the amount of withholding on your W-4; and, request an online payment agreement.   You can even get information about a career with the IRS.  Best of all, you can access IRS.gov 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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