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Indiana Tax Tips December 2011

December 29, 2011
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12/30/11 It’s that time of the year again. The income tax filing season has begun and important tax documents should be arriving in the mail throughout January of 2012. Even though your return is not due until April, getting an early start will make filing easier. Here are some tips that will help you get ready for the process:

  1. Start gathering your records.  Round up any documents or forms you’ll need when filing your taxes. Things like receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you’re claiming on your return. If you itemize, gather those documents that support those items. Example: if you made charitable contributions to institutions of higher education, collect your gift documentation.
  1. Be on the lookout for your official documents.  W-2s and 1099s will be coming in January. You’ll need these to file your tax return. Make an inventory list of the organizations you expect documents from and check them off as they arrive. Put them in a safe place until you are ready to file.
  1. Start thinking about how you will file. There are many ways to file your taxes these days, including traditional paper, using a professional tax preparer, online with a paid service, or using INfreefile.
    1. Filing by paper, recognize that it will take longer to process and longer to get a refund. Paper forms and booklets are still available at your local library or online from the IRS and from the Department of Revenue (www.in.gov/dor/4546.htm)
    1.  Professional Tax preparation services are available throughout Indiana for an appropriate fee. More information is available at www.in.gov/dor.3862.htm. The page includes a link to the IRS website where you can search for authorized paid preparers in your area.
    1. Online services are also available that make filing simple and easy – and electronic.
    1. INfreefile can do the work for you with brand-name tax software and online fillable forms. You can file both federal and Indiana taxes using this free service if you qualify. Six online vendors support this service. Visit www.freefile.dor.in.gov.
  1. Key Change for 2011: Those filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) must use Form IT-40 this year instead of the simplified Form IT-40EZ as in prior years.
  1. When to file? Remember, the sooner you file, the sooner you will get a refund if you qualify for one. If you file electronically, it will result in a very quick turnaround. Refunds from electronic filing can take as little as 10 days. If you file by paper, your refund could take as much as 12 weeks.
  1. Tax Deadlines: The deadline for filing both federal and state income taxes is April 17, 2012. Since April 15 is on a Sunday, the filing date moves to the next working day. However, the next working day is a formal holiday in Washington, D.C. so the final day is April 17.

 

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