2012 IRS e-file Refund Cycle Chart

2012 IRS e-file Refund Cycle Chart for Tax Year 2011


* This is the projected date that the refund will be direct deposited or mailed. It may take up to 5 additional days for the financial institution to post the refund to your account, or for mail delivery

IRS Refund Chart for 2011

IRS accepts your return (by 11:00 am) between… Projected Direct Deposit Sent* Projected Paper Check Mailed*
Jan 17 and Jan 18, 2012 Jan 25, 2012 Jan 27, 2012
Jan 19 and Jan 25, 2012 Feb 1, 2012 Feb 3, 2012
Jan 26 and Feb 1, 2012 Feb 8, 2012 Feb 10, 2012
Feb 2 and Feb 8, 2012 Feb 15, 2012 Feb 17, 2012
Feb 9 and Feb 15, 2012 Feb 22, 2012 Feb 24, 2012
Feb 16 and Feb 22, 2012 Feb 29, 2012 Mar 2, 2012
Feb 23 and Feb 29, 2012 Mar 7, 2012 Mar 9, 2012
Mar 1 and Mar 7, 2012 Mar 14, 2012 Mar 16, 2012
Mar 8 and Mar 14, 2012 Mar 21, 2012 Mar 23, 2012
Mar 15 and Mar 21, 2012 Mar 28, 2012 Mar 30, 2012
Mar 22 and Mar 28, 2012 Apr 4, 2012 Apr 6, 2012
Mar 29 and Apr 4, 2012 Apr 11, 2012 Apr 13, 2012
Apr 5 and Apr 11, 2012 Apr 18, 2012 Apr 20, 2012
Apr 12 and Apr 18, 2012 Apr 25, 2012 Apr 27, 2012
Apr 19 and Apr 25, 2012 May 2, 2012 May 4, 2012
Apr 26 and May 2, 2012 May 9, 2012 May 11, 2012
May 3 and May 9, 2012 May 16, 2012 May 18, 2012
May 10 and May 16, 2012 May 23, 2012 May 25, 2012
May 17 and May 23, 2012 May 30, 2012 Jun 1, 2012
May 24 and May 30, 2012 Jun 6, 2012 Jun 8, 2012
May 31 and Jun 6, 2012 Jun 13, 2012 Jun 15, 2012
Jun 7 and Jun 13, 2012 Jun 20, 2012 Jun 22, 2012
Jun 14 and Jun 20, 2012 Jun 27, 2012 Jun 29, 2012
Jun 21 and Jun 27, 2012 Jul 4, 2012 Jul 6, 2012
Jun 28 and Jul 4, 2012 Jul 11, 2012 Jul 13, 2012
Jul 5 and Jul 11, 2012 Jul 18, 2012 Jul 20, 2012
Jul 12 and Jul 18, 2012 Jul 25, 2012 Jul 27, 2012
Jul 19 and Jul 25, 2012 Aug 1, 2012 Aug 3, 2012
Jul 26 and Aug 1, 2012 Aug 8, 2012 Aug 10, 2012
Aug 2 and Aug 8, 2012 Aug 15, 2012 Aug 17, 2012
Aug 9 and Aug 15, 2012 Aug 22, 2012 Aug 24, 2012
Aug 16 and Aug 22, 2012 Aug 29, 2012 Aug 31, 2012
Aug 23 and Aug 29, 2012 Sep 5, 2012 Sep 7, 2012
Aug 30 and Sep 5, 2012 Sep 12, 2012 Sep 14, 2012
Sep 6 and Sep 12, 2012 Sep 19, 2012 Sep 21, 2012
Sep 13 and Sep 19, 2012 Sep 26, 2012 Sep 28, 2012
Sep 20 and Sep 26, 2012 Oct 3, 2012 Oct 5, 2012
Sep 27 and Oct 3, 2012 Oct 10, 2012 Oct 12, 2012
Oct 4 and Oct 10, 2012 Oct 17, 2012 Oct 19, 2012
Oct 11 and Oct 17, 2012 Oct 24, 2012 Oct 26, 2012
Oct 18 and Oct 24, 2012 Oct 31, 2012 Nov 2, 2012
Oct 25 and Oct 31, 2012 Nov 7, 2012 Nov 9, 2012
Nov 1 and Nov 7, 2012 Nov 14, 2012 Nov 16, 2012
Nov 8 and Nov 14, 2012 Nov 21, 2012 Nov 23, 2012
Nov 15 and Nov 21, 2012 Nov 28, 2012 Nov 30, 2012
Nov 22 and Nov 28, 2012 Dec 5, 2012 Dec 7, 2012
Nov 29 and Dec 5, 2012 Dec 12, 2012 Dec 14, 2012
Dec 6 and Dec 12, 2012 Dec 19, 2012 Dec 21, 2012
Dec 13 and Dec 19, 2012 Dec 27, 2012 Dec 31, 2012
Dec 20 and Dec 26, 2012 Jan 3, 2013 Jan 7, 2013

* The IRS does not guarantee a specific date that a refund will be deposited into a taxpayer’s financial institution account or when it will be mailed.

 

2012 IRS e-file Refund Cycle Chart

You can check the status of your refund 72 hours after IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return. For the fastest information call 1-800-829-1954 or 1-800-829-4477.

Based on the date your return was accepted by the IRS, the earliest your refund will be direct deposited or mailed is shown on the chart above. This is a projected date based on normal processing. On the Wednesday prior to the projected date, you can go to www.irs.gov and click on Where’s my refund? to get any changes to the projected date.

drywall

IRS Relief for Homeowners with Corrosive Drywall

The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance providing relief to homeowners who have suffered property losses due to the effects of certain imported drywall installed in homes between 2001 and 2009.

Revenue Procedure 2010-36 enables affected taxpayers to treat damages from corrosive drywall as a casualty loss and provides a ”safe harbor” formula for determining the amount of the loss.

 

IRS Relief for Homeowners with Corrosive Drywall

In numerous instances, homeowners with certain imported drywall have reported blackening or corrosion of copper electrical wiring and copper components of household appliances, as well as the presence of sulfur gas odors. In November 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that an indoor air study of a sample of 51 homes found a strong association between the problem drywall, levels of hydrogen sulfide in those homes and corrosion of metals in those homes.

 

Revenue Procedure 2010-36 provides the following relief related to dry wall:

  • Individuals who pay to repair damage to their personal residences or household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall may treat the amount paid as a casualty loss in the year of payment.
  • Taxpayers who have already filed their income tax return for the year of payment generally have three years to file an amended return and claim the deduction.The amount of a loss that may be claimed depends on whether the taxpayer has a pending claim for reimbursement (or intends to pursue reimbursement) of the loss through property insurance, litigation or otherwise.
  • In cases where a taxpayer does not have a pending claim for reimbursement, the taxpayer may claim as a loss all unreimbursed amounts paid during the taxable year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall.
  • If a taxpayer does have a pending claim (or intends to pursue reimbursement), a taxpayer may claim a loss for 75 percent of the un-reimbursed amount paid during the taxable year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household appliances that resulted from corrosive drywall.

A taxpayer who has been fully reimbursed before filing a return for the year the loss was sustained may not claim a loss. A taxpayer who has a pending claim for reimbursement (or intends to pursue reimbursement) may have income or an additional deduction in subsequent taxable years depending on the actual amount of reimbursement received.

For purposes of this revenue procedure, the term “corrosive drywall” means drywall that is identified as problem drywall under the two step identification method published by the CPSC and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in their interim guidance dated January 28, 2010.

Further details and limitations can be found in Revenue Procedure 2010-36.

no-refund

Nine Tips for Taxpayers Who Owe Money to the IRS

Did you end up owing taxes this year?

The vast majority of Americans get a tax refund from the IRS each spring, but those who receive a bill may not know that the IRS has a number of ways for people to pay. Here are nine tips for taxpayers who owe money to the IRS.

  1. If you get a bill this summer for late taxes, you are expected to promptly pay the tax owed including any penalties and interest. If you are unable to pay the amount due, it is often in your best interest to get a loan to pay the bill in full rather than to make installment payments to the IRS.
  2. You can also pay the bill with your credit card. The interest rate on a credit card or bank loan may be lower than the combination of interest and penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. To pay by credit card contact one of the following processing companies:
  3. You can pay the balance owed by electronic funds transfer, check, money order, cashier’s check or cash. To pay using electronic funds transfer you can take advantage of the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System by calling 800-555-4477 or online at www.eftps.gov.
  4. An installment agreement may be requested if you cannot pay the liability in full. This is an agreement between you and the IRS to pay the amount due in monthly installment payments. You must first file all returns that are required and be current with estimated tax payments.
  5. If you owe $25,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest, you can request an installment agreement using the Online Payment Agreement application at IRS.gov.
  6. You can also complete and mail an IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, along with your bill in the envelope that you have received from the IRS.  The IRS will inform you usually within 30 days whether your request is approved, denied, or if additional information is needed. If the amount you owe is $25,000 or less, provide the highest monthly amount you can pay with your request.
  7. You may still qualify for an installment agreement if you owe more than $25,000, but a Form 433F, Collection Information Statement, is required to be completed before an installment agreement can be considered. If your balance is over $25,000, consider your financial situation and propose the highest amount possible, as that is how the IRS will arrive at your payment amount based upon your financial information.
  8. If an agreement is approved, a one-time user fee will be charged.  The user fee for a new agreement is $105 or $52 for agreements where payments are deducted directly from your bank account.  For eligible individuals with incomes at or below certain levels, a reduced fee of $43 will be charged.
  9. Taxpayers who have a balance due, may want to consider changing their W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with their employer. There is a withholding calculator available on IRS.gov to help taxpayers determine the amount that should be withheld.

 

Nine Tips for Taxpayers Who Owe Money to the IRS

For more information about installment agreements and other payment options visit IRS.gov.  IRS Publications 594, The IRS Collection Process and 966, Electronic Choices to Pay All Your Federal Taxes also provide additional information regarding your payment options.  These publications and Form 9465 can be obtained below or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

IRS Publications on Collections Process

Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process
Publication 966, Electronic Choices to Pay All Your Federal Taxes
Form 9465, Installment Agreement

oil_spill

IRS Dedicated Phone Line for Gulf Oil Spill Victims

WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service today announced the opening of a special telephone line for taxpayers affected by the Gulf oil spill.

Individuals who have questions about the BP payments or who are experiencing filing or payment hardships because of the oil spill should contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.

The special services phone line will operate weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.

In certain cases, the IRS can assist oil spill victims by suspending collection and examination actions. Taxpayers who need this assistance must request it. Others may decide to continue making payments because interest will continue to accrue on outstanding balances, even if some penalties are abated.

In addition to postponing collection actions, the IRS continues to have a number of other ways to help taxpayers deal with oil spill issues or other economic hardships, including:

  • Added flexibility for missed payments on installment agreements and offers in compromise for previously compliant individuals.
  • Consideration of a taxpayer’s current income and potential for future income when negotiating an offer in compromise.
    Accelerated levy releases.
  • Assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate Service for those experiencing economic harm and seeking help resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels.
  • Special Assistance on July 17 at Gulf Coast Offices
    In addition to the new telephone line, the IRS will conduct a special assistance day on July 17 for oil spill victims in seven cities.

 

IRS Dedicated Phone Line for Gulf Oil Spill Victims

Taxpayers and tax preparers will be able to work directly with IRS employees to resolve tax issues, including specific topics related to the oil spill. The IRS will hold the Gulf Coast Assistance Day in the following cities:

  • Mobile, Ala.
  • Panama City and Pensacola, Fla.
  • New Orleans, Houma and Baton Rouge, La.
  • Gulfport, Miss.

Times and addresses will be announced soon.

Related Information:
For further information, including the tax treatment of BP compensation payments, see Questions & Answers  about the Gulf oil spill on the IRS website, IRS.gov. Taxpayers are also encouraged to visit DisasterAssistance.gov, which has information on assistance for Gulf oil spill victims.
tax-refund-check

IRS Holding $123.5 Million in Undeliverable Refunds to Taxpayers

Missing your tax refund?

The Internal Revenue Service is looking for taxpayers who are due to receive a combined $123.5 million in the form of 107,831 refund checks that were returned to the IRS by the U.S. Postal Service due to mailing address errors.

tax-refund-check

“We are eager to get this money into the hands of taxpayers, so don’t delay if you think you are missing a refund,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “The sooner you update your address information, the quicker you can get your refund.”

All a taxpayer has to do is update his or her address once. The IRS will then send out all checks due. Undeliverable refund checks average $1,148 this year, compared to $990 last year. Some taxpayers are due more than one check.

 

IRS Holding $123.5 Million in Undeliverable Refunds to Taxpayers

Average undeliverable refunds rose by 16 percent this year, which is in line with the 16 percent rise in average refunds for all tax returns in the latest filing season. Several changes in tax law likely played a role in boosting refunds, including the First-Time Homebuyer’s Credit and the Recovery Rebate Credit, among others.

The vast majority of checks mailed out by the IRS each year reach their rightful owner. Only a very small percent are returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable.

If a refund check is returned to the IRS as undeliverable, taxpayers can generally update their addresses with the Where’s my refund? tool. The tool enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. A taxpayer must submit his or her social security number, filing status and amount of refund shown on their 2008 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and in some cases provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.

Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will be given instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to choose direct deposit when they file their returns because it puts an end to lost, stolen or undeliverable checks. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into personal checking or savings accounts. Direct deposit is available for filers of both paper and electronic returns.

The IRS also encourages taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically because e-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns. E-file also reduces errors on tax returns and speeds up refunds.

E-file coupled with direct deposit is your best option; it’s easy, fast and safe.

laptop-chart

IRS Interest Rates Remain the Same for the Fourth Quarter of 2009

The Internal Revenue Service today announced that interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning October 1, 2009, will remain the same.

 

IRS Interest Rates Remain the Same for the Fourth Quarter of 2009

The rates will be:

  • four (4) percent for overpayments (three (3) percent in the case of a corporation);
  • four (4) percent for underpayments;
  • six (6) percent for large corporate underpayments; and
  • one and one-half (1.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis.  For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points. Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points.  The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

The interest rates announced today are computed from the federal short-term rate during July 2009 to take effect Aug. 1, 2009, based on daily compounding.

Revenue Ruling 2009-27, announcing the rates of interest, is attached and will appear in Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2009-39, dated Sept. 28, 2009.

IRS Alerts Public to New Identity Theft Scams

The Internal Revenue Service reminds consumers to avoid identity theft scams that use the IRS name, logo or Web site in an attempt to convince taxpayers that the scam is a genuine communication from the IRS. Scammers may use other federal agency names, such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

 

IRS Alerts Public to New Identity Theft Scams

e-file taxes from home

In an identity theft scam, a fraudster, often posing as a trusted government, financial or business institution or official, tries to trick a victim into revealing personal and financial information, such as credit card numbers and passwords, bank account numbers and passwords, Social Security numbers and more. Generally, identity thieves use someone’s personal data to steal his or her financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s name and even file fraudulent tax returns.

The scams may take place through e-mail, fax or phone. When they take place via e-mail, they are called “phishing” scams.

The IRS does not discuss tax account matters with taxpayers by e-mail.

The IRS urges consumers to avoid falling for the following recent schemes:

 

Making Work Pay Refund

This phishing e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, references the president and the Making Work Pay provision of the 2009 economic recovery law. It says that there is a refundable credit available to workers, consumers and retirees that can be paid into the recipient’s bank account if the recipient registers their account information with the IRS. The e-mail contains links to register the account and to claim the tax refund.

In reality, most taxpayers receive their Making Work Pay tax credit, which was designed for wage earners, in their paychecks as a result of decreased tax withholding, not as a lump sum distribution from a federal fund. Additionally, consumers and retirees who are not wage earners are not eligible for this tax credit.

 

Inherited Funds / Lottery Winnings / Cash Consignment

In this phishing scheme, recipients receive an e-mail claiming to come from the U.S. Department of the Treasury notifying them that they will receive millions of dollars in recovered funds or lottery winnings or cash consignment if they provide certain personal information, including phone numbers, via return e-mail. The e-mail may be just the first step in a multi-step scheme, in which the victim is later contacted by telephone or further e-mail and instructed to deposit taxes on the funds or winnings before they can receive any of it. Alternatively, they may be sent a phony check of the funds or winnings and told to deposit it but pay 10 percent in taxes or fees. Thinking that the check must have cleared the bank and is genuine, some people comply. However, the scammers, not the Treasury Department, will get the taxes or fees.

 

Form W-8BEN Scam

In this scam, fraudsters modify a genuine IRS form, the W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, to request detailed personal and financial information. This could include nationality, passport number, bank account and PIN numbers, spouse’s name and mother’s maiden name, or other personal or financial information or security measures for financial accounts. The scammers may use the genuine form number and name or may make up a new form number, such as W-4100B2.

They either e-mail or fax the form or letter. If only a letter, the letter itself contains the request for the personal and financial information. The letter, which claims to come from the IRS, states that the recipient will face additional taxes unless he or she quickly faxes the required information to the number provided by the scammer.

In reality, taxpayers file the genuine Form W-8BEN with their financial institutions, not with the IRS. Additionally, the genuine W-8BEN does not request the taxpayer’s passport number, bank account number, security or similar information.

 

IRS Refund Scams

The bogus e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, tells the recipient that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount. It instructs the recipient to click on a link contained in the e-mail to access and complete a form for the tax refund. The form requires the entry of personal and financial information. The refund scam is the most common one seen by the IRS. Several recent variations on this scam have claimed to come from the Exempt Organizations area of the IRS. Some others have included the name and purported signature of a genuine or a made-up IRS executive.

Taxpayers do not have to complete a special form to obtain a refund. Taxpayer refunds are based on the tax return they submit to the IRS.

 

How to Spot an IRS Scam

Many e-mail scams are fairly sophisticated and hard to detect. However, there are signs to watch for, such as an e-mail that:

  • Requests detailed or an unusual amount of personal and/or financial information, such as name, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers or security-related information, such as mother’s maiden name, either in the e-mail itself or on another site to which a link in the e-mail sends the recipient.
  • Dangles bait to get the recipient to respond to the e-mail, such as mentioning a tax refund or offering to pay the recipient to participate in an IRS survey.
  • Threatens a consequence for not responding to the e-mail, such as additional taxes or blocking access to the recipient’s funds.
  • Gets the Internal Revenue Service or other federal agency names wrong.
  • Uses incorrect grammar or odd phrasing (many of the e-mail scams originate overseas and are written by non-native English speakers).
  • Uses a really long address in any link contained in the e-mail message or one that does not start with the actual IRS Web site address (www.irs.gov). To see the actual link address, or url, move the mouse over the link included in the text of the e-mail.

 

What to Do if you feel you are victim of a Scam

The IRS does not initiate taxpayer contact via unsolicited e-mail or ask for personal identifying or financial information via e-mail. If you receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to come from the IRS, take the following steps:

  • Do not open any attachments to the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links, for the same reason. Also, be aware that the links often connect to a phony IRS Web site that appears authentic and then prompts the victim for personal identifiers, bank or credit card account numbers or PINs. The phony Web sites appear legitimate because the appearance and much of the content are directly copied from an actual page on the IRS Web site and then modified by the scammers for their own purposes.
  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you.
  • Forward the suspicious e-mail or url address to the IRS mailbox phishing@irs.gov, then delete the e-mail from your inbox.

 

Genuine IRS Web site

The only genuine IRS Web site is IRS.gov. All IRS.gov Web page addresses begin with http://www.irs.gov/. Anyone wishing to access the IRS Web site should initiate contact by typing the IRS.gov address into their Internet address window, rather than clicking on a link in an e-mail.

bride

Tax Tips for Recently Married Taxpayers

Few changes in life affect your taxes as significantly as beginning or ending a marriage. These Q&As may be helpful if you have been recently married or divorced. In most cases, you pay less tax by filing jointly. You do not qualify for certain tax breaks, or your tax breaks may be limited, if you use the Married Filing Separately filing status. For example, you cannot take education credits, the student loan interest deduction, or the rental real estate loss allowance if you lived together and file separately. Also, you cannot take the Child and Dependent Care Credit or the Adoption Credit if you file separately, unless you lived apart for the last six months of the year.

Tax Tips for Recently Married Taxpayers

Married Filing Separately (MFS) taxpayers are only responsible for their income and taxes (and not for a spouse), but may not be eligible to claim the following tax benefits:

  • Tuition and fees deduction
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Tax-free exclusion of US bond interest
  • Tax-free exclusion of Social Security Benefits
  • Credit for the Elderly and Disabled
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit
  • Earned Income Credit
  • Education Credits

 

Other drawbacks of Married Filing Separately:

  • Taxpayers have a much lower income phase-out range for IRA deductions.
  • Both spouses must claim the standard deduction, or both must itemize their deductions. One spouse cannot claim the standard deduction if the other is itemizing.
  • This filing status generally pays the most tax of all the filing statuses.

If you have recently gotten married or plan to get married in the near future, the IRS has some tips to help you avoid stress at tax time.

bride

  1. Notify the Social Security Administration: Report any name change to the Social Security Administration, so your name and SSN will match when you file your next tax return. Informing the SSA of a name change is quite simple. File a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security card at your local SSA office. The form is available on SSA’s Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or at local offices.
  2. Notify the IRS: If you have a new address you should notify the IRS by sending Form 8822, Change of Address. You may download Form 8822 below or order it by calling 800–TAX–FORM (800–829–3676).
  3. Notify the U.S. Postal Service: You should also notify the U.S. Postal Service when you move so it can forward any IRS correspondence.
  4. Notify Your Employer: Report any name and address changes to your employer(s) to ensure receipt of your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement after the end of the year.
  5. Check Your Withholding: If both you and your spouse work, your combined income may place you in a higher tax bracket. You can use the IRS Withholding Calculator available on IRS.gov to assist you in determining the correct amount of withholding needed for your new filing status. The IRS Withholding Calculator will even provide you with a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate you can print out and give it to your employer so they can withhold the correct amount from your pay.

Bottom line: planning for your wedding may be over, but don’t forget about planning for the tax-related changes that marriage brings. More information about changing your name, address and income tax withholding is available on IRS.gov. IRS forms and publications can be obtained from IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

 

Additional IRS Links on the Tax Consequences of Getting Married:

 

YouTube Video on Getting Married and Taxes:

IRS Offers Tax Payment Options

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers to file their federal tax returns and pay any taxes they owe by the April 15 deadline.

Aware that the economic downturn has affected many people, the agency urged taxpayers in difficult financial situations to file a tax return, pay what they can and work with the IRS to establish a payment plan that will keep them compliant.

 

Filing and Paying on Time Saves Money

The IRS cautioned that there is a failure-to-file penalty for taxpayers who don’t file their tax returns by April 15 and who owe taxes. Filing by the deadline allows taxpayers to avoid this penalty, even if they can’t pay all or some of their taxes by the deadline. Taxpayers who can’t meet the filing deadline can request an extension of time to file. However, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.

Taxpayers who can’t pay the full amount would still benefit from filing their return and paying as much as they can by April 15. Interest and failure-to-pay penalties are due on any unpaid balance and increase the amount that the taxpayer owes.

Members of the military and some others serving in combat zones, or in support, can wait until after April 15 to file and pay. As a general rule, those eligible get the extra time penalty-free and interest-free without having to ask for it. Normally, the filing and payment deadline is postponed until 180 days after the service member leaves the combat zone.

 

Electronic Options IRS Offers Tax Payment Options

IRS offers various electronic payment options to taxpayers to make it as easy as possible to make a full or partial payment with their return.

Taxpayers can make payments online, by phone using a credit or debit card, or through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Taxpayers who e-file their return may use the electronic funds withdrawal option for submitting an electronic payment. They can e-file before April 15 but schedule their payment for withdrawal on April 15.

Information on these options, including any fees involved, may be found on this Web site, on the Electronic Payment Options Home Page.

Some taxpayers who itemize may now deduct the convenience fee charged for paying individual income taxes with a credit or debit card as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. The deduction is subject to the 2 percent limit on Form 1040, Schedule A.

Taxpayers may also pay any taxes owed by check made out to the “United States Treasury” using Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, which must be included along with the payment and tax return. Taxpayers who have already submitted their tax return, but still need to pay all or some of their taxes, may mail the check to the IRS with Form 1040-V.

 

Installment Agreements and Online Applications

Taxpayers who find they can’t make a full payment by the April 15 deadline may consider applying for an installment agreement.

An installment agreement allows taxpayers to pay any remaining balance in monthly installments. Taxpayers who owe $25,000 or less may apply for a payment plan electronically, using the Online Payment Agreement application. Or they may attach Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, to the front of their tax return. Taxpayers must show the amount of their proposed monthly payment and the date they wish to make their payment each month. The IRS charges $105 for setting up the agreement or $52 if the payments are deducted directly from the taxpayer’s bank account ($43 for qualified lower-income taxpayers).

The IRS will automatically give taxpayers the low income installment agreement fee if they qualify. The taxpayer does not have to request it. Taxpayers are required to pay interest plus a late payment penalty on the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month after the due date that the tax is not paid. A taxpayer who does not file the return by the due date — including extensions — may have to pay a failure-to-file penalty.

For more information about filing and paying taxes, visit IRS.gov and choose 1040 Central or refer to the Form 1040 Instructions or IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. Taxpayers can download forms and publications from IRS.gov or request a free copy by calling toll free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

 

Related Items:

  • IR-2009-37, Credit and Debit Card Fees Related to Tax Payment Are Deductible
  • IR-2009-36, IRS Urges Taxpayers To e-file Extension Requests by April 15 Filing Deadline

Top 10 Tips for Last Minute Tax Filers

With the tax filing deadline close at hand, here are the top 10 tips for last minute taxpayers still working on their tax return. Sometimes the most frustrating part of preparing your tax return is dealing with unsuccessful attempts to e-file. E-filing your return instead of mailing definitely has some benefits, especially receiving your refund much faster. The Internal Revenue Service can reject your e-filing for a wide range of reasons, which means you’ll need to figure out what went wrong and try again. However, if you implement some basic tips, you may be able to avoid unnecessary e-file rejections.

 

Top 10 Tips for Last Minute Tax Filers

efile Tax Tips

  1. E-file your return. Consider filing electronically instead of using paper tax forms. Choosing to e-file is the best way to ensure your return is accurate and complete.
  2. Review tax ID numbers. Remember to carefully check all identification numbers on your return. Incorrect or illegible Social Security Numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.
  3. Double-check your figures. Whether you are filing electronically or by paper, review all the amounts you transferred over from your W-2 or 1099.
  4. Review your math. Taxpayers filing paper returns should also double-check that they have correctly figured the refund or balance due and have used the right figure from the tax table.
  5. Sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.
  6. Choose Direct Deposit. To get your refund quicker, select Direct Deposit and the IRS will deposit your refund directly into your bank account.
  7. How to make a payment. People sending a payment should make the check out to “United States Treasury” and should enclose it with, but not attach it to the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, if used. Write your name, address, SSN, telephone number, tax year and form number on the check or money order.
  8. File an extension. Taxpayers who will not be able to file a return by the April deadline should request an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
  9. Visit the IRS Web site. IRS.gov has forms, publications and helpful information on a variety of tax subjects, which is available around the clock on the IRS.gov.
  10. Review your return….one more time. Before you seal the envelope or hit send, go over all the information on return again. Errors may delay the processing of your return, so it’s best for you to make sure everything on your return is correct.

 

Common eFile Errors Lead to Rejections

One of the easier e-file rejections to fix is the names reported on your tax forms. When you e-file, the IRS will check to ensure that your name matches the Social Security number (SSN) reported on the form. Another frequent mismatch occurs when there is a name change due to marriage or divorce. If you change your last name, you need to notify the Social Security Administration to get your SSN reassigned to your new name, or risk your e-file being rejected. When you take exemptions for your dependents, your tax form requires their full names, SSNs and the relationship you have with each of them. The IRS e-file system will verify that each dependent’s name matches the corresponding SSN by comparing the information to IRS master files. If it doesn’t match, the IRS will reject your e-filing.

Further, certain tax return filing statuses require additional information on the return other than just marking the appropriate status box. If filing as head of household, for example, one of the eligibility requirements is that you claim at least one dependent on your return. Thus, if you forget to list your dependent or report your dependent’s name or SSN incorrectly, the e-filing system will catch this error and reject your e-file submission

 

Additional IRS Links on eFile:

Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request
Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher
Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return