Tax Tips for 2012

Already 2012, and tax time is coming up.

This year, the IRS and many states are not mailing tax forms. They are expecting people to go onto their websites to print out forms and instructions. The Internal Revenue Service provides tips to make sure the tax-filing process goes smoothly:

1. Gather records: order the forms and instructions needed for filing a return; gather receipts, canceled checks and credit card statements that support income or deductions being claimed on a return.

2. Make a list of W-2s and 1099s: Look out for W-2s and 1099s. These documents need to be attached to returns. Sometimes these documents may contain errors. Keep a spreadsheet on what the amounts should be by reviewing prior invoices, receivables, and paystubs.

3. Get Answers: Instead of guessing how to fill out something on a return, use the Interactive Tax Assistant available on the IRS website to get answers to tax questions on credits or deductions.

4. Use Free File: Available on is Free File. Everyone can prepare a tax return and e-file it for free. If a person makes $57,000 or less, the individual qualifies to use free tax software offered through a private-public partnership with manufacturers. If an individual makes more than $57,000 or is comfortable preparing a tax return, Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms, area available at

5. Use IRS e-file: e-file lets people receives their refunds faster. The IRS issues refunds to 98% of e-filers by direct deposit within 14 days, and some may be issued in 10 days.

6. Investigate filing support: There are many avenues of support for the tax payer. Besides paid tax preparers, a person may be eligible for free volunteer help.

7. Use direct deposit: If a taxpayer expects a refund, consider direct deposit to receive it faster than a paper check in the postal mail.

8. Get to know the IRS website: The IRS website at is a place to find forms, publications, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes. It is better than staying on hold when calling the IRS.

9. Read IRS Publication 17: IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, found on the IRS website provides a resource for taxpayers when filing a return.

10. Review: Do not rush through preparing a tax return. Look for calculation errors. There may be mistakes in using the wrong tax tables. Filing a return with mistakes slows down the processing of a return, or may result in penalties.

To learn more about tax returns, consult an experienced New York tax attorney.