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Tax Last Chance: Questions Linger Before Deadline

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Tax forms are due in four days and, yes, some of us, haven’t even started.

And there are a lot more questions this year than in some years past because of the increased unemployment payments; the stimulus checks; the child tax credits.

Raphael Tulino with the IRS told KNPR's State of Nevada that despite those challenges it is more important than ever to file an accurate tax return this year.

“The COVID environment has the IRS spread pretty thin,” Tulino said, “If you think about the last 15 months or so… we’ve had four enormous pieces of legislation to interpret and issue guidance on, two tax filing seasons, which themselves make us quite busy in terms of interaction with taxpayers, and then we’ve had three rounds of economic impact payments.”

Tulino said if you file an inaccurate return, it will just delay your refund process that much more.

Some people don’t want to file a return for a number of reasons, but certified public account Todd Cox said it is important for a majority of people to file a return.

“If you file your tax return, then you have something foundational,” Cox said, “If you file it timely after three years that tax year is essentially what they referred to as closed, meaning it won’t be audited by the IRS unless extreme circumstances such as they can prove you fraudulently filed it or something like that.”

Cox said if you file your tax return on a timely basis and in good faith after three years it will be closed.

Tulino also pointed that if you are supposed to get money back from the government then not filing a return is just giving your money to the government.

For those who do own money and can’t pay it, Tulino said it is important to talk to the IRS about repayment, even if the debt is years old.

“IRS wants to help you come back into compliance and not be a hinder,” he said, “We’re not going to send the paddy wagon after you. What we want to do is connect with you and see what we can do to help you take care of your taxes as best for you.”

Both Cox and Tulino agree that if you have complex or complicated tax filings, for example: bankruptcies, foreclosures, rental properties, gaming wins or a small business, it is best to seek out help from a tax professional to make sure you are filing them correctly.

 

RESOURCES:

 

IRS Economic Impact Payment line at 800-919-9835

American Rescue Plan - Tax Overview

irs.gov - Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments

irs.gov

Nevada Free Taxes Coalition

TOP TEN TIPS FROM THE IRS:

 

Gather your records:  Round up any documents you will need when filing your taxes, including receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you will be claiming on your tax return. Store them in a safe place.

Report all your income:  You will need all your Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and 1099 income statements to report your income when you file your tax return. To ensure you don’t misplace them, add them to your other records.

Get answers to questions:  Use the  Interactive Tax Assistant tool available on the IRS website to find answers to your questions about tax credits and deductions.

Use Free File:  There is at least one option available for everyone to prepare and e-file a tax return at no cost. Let IRS Free File do the work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It's available exclusively at IRS.gov. If your income was $57,000 or less, you qualify to use free tax software. If your income was higher, or you are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there's Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Visit  IRS.gov/freefile to review your options.

Try IRS e-file:   IRS e-file is the best way to file an accurate tax return. It’s safe, easy and the way most taxpayers file their return. Last year, more than 80 percent of taxpayers used IRS e-file. Many tax preparers are now required to use e-file. If you owe taxes, you have the option to file early and pay by July 15.

Weigh your filing options:  You have several options for filing your tax return. You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer. You may be eligible for free, face-to-face help at a volunteer site. Weigh your options and choose the one that works best for you.

Use direct deposit:  Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest and safest way for you to get your refund.

Visit the IRS website:  The IRS website at IRS.gov is a great place to find everything you need to file your tax return. This includes many online tools, filing tips, answers to frequently asked questions, the latest tax law changes, forms and publications.

Remember number 17:   Check out Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, on the IRS website. It’s a complete tax resource that includes information such as whether you need to file or how to choose your filing status.

Review your return:  Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double-check all Social Security numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors. If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Start with IRS.gov.

IRS Podcasts:

IRS YouTube 

 

Todd Cox, CPA, former Gaming Control Board agent;  Raphael Tulino, media relations, IRS

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.