Tuesday, April 07, 2009

San Francisco Residents Top List Of Tax Procrastinators

A new study has found that San Francisco residents top the newest tax procrastination list, according to the Wall Street Journal. You can find a snippet of the article below, but the full story can be found here.

The City by the Bay is No. 1 on TurboTax's eighth annual list of Top 10 procrastinating cities, based on how many people used TurboTax's online service to file on the last two days of the filing season in April 2008.

Houston, which has been the No. 1 city three times - more than any other locale - came in at second place, while New York, which has been on the Top 10 list all eight years, came in at third.

Chicago, No. 1 last year, was in fourth place this year, followed by San Diego. Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas rounded out the list.

You're not alone

Still not done with your taxes? You're not alone. While almost 78 million U.S. taxpayers filed returns to the IRS through March 20, that still leaves at least another 46 million taxpayers to file in the four weeks from March 20 through April 17 - about 11.5 million taxpayers per week - based on 2007 IRS filing statistics.

The 2008 filing season was an anomaly because people who don't usually file did so to claim that year's stimulus payment. Last year, 137 million returns were filed by April 19, 2008, up from 124 million the year before.

Don't rush

At this point, people are likelier to rush. If that describes you, slow down -- and don't assume your return this year will be similar to last year's.

"With more people having reduced income, they may find that the deductions and credits with income phase outs that made them ineligible in the past, are available to them this year," said Bob Scharin, senior tax analyst with Thomson Reuters' tax and accounting business.

Tax breaks with income phase outs include the child tax credit, education credits and tuition deduction, and deductible IRA contributions. If your income has decreased over the year, check whether you're now eligible for those and other breaks.

"People who had a large drop in income should also look to see if they're entitled to a medical expense deduction this year," Scharin said. To take the deduction, your medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income. A combination of lower income plus potentially higher health costs - such as paying for Cobra or individual health insurance - could mean you're now eligible.

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