Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Questions for the Tax Lady: January 5th, 2011

Check out the following new Questions for the Tax Lady answers and feel free to ask me questions through one of the links below. You can send me an email, direct message or @ reply, and I will do my best to get an answer for you!

Question: When is the earliest that I can file my tax return with the IRS?

I love that you want to get a jump on filing your taxes. In theory, you can file your taxes as soon as you receive all your W-2s, 1099s, or other tax-related documents. However, this filing season you might have to wait until mid-February to file. Congress waited until the very last minute to pass the “tax compromise” which means the IRS is still scrambling to update the tax forms and processing systems. So, who will have to wait?

  1. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on Schedule A.
  2. Taxpayers who claim the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction.
  3. Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expenses Deduction.

In addition to the delays, the IRS is urging anyone who falls into any of the three categories above to file electronically. With all the changes to the forms, filing electronically will ensure you file the updated versions of the forms and help you detect any mistakes before you file. No specific date has been given yet, but the IRS should announce it shortly.

So, if you claim the standard deduction and do not plan to claim the tuition and fees deduction, or the educator expenses deduction, you are free to file as soon as you receive all your tax information. Otherwise, you can spend the next month and a half getting organized so filing will be a snap!

Question: I am currently on a payment plan with the IRS, but my income has been reduced significantly over the past few months. Is it possible for me to renegotiate with the IRS to lower my monthly payment?

I commend you for getting out ahead of your financial issues, instead of waiting until you default on your installment agreement with the IRS.

Most IRS tax debt programs are based on your financial situation right now. So, when you income declines or you lose a job, you may be able to negotiate a lower payment. Your first step is to call the IRS (800-829-1040) as soon as you think you have a problem.

You will probably have to provide documentation for your decreased income, such as your W-2s or an updated profit and loss statement for your business. So, gather your documents and call the IRS. And good luck on getting a little relief in this still-shaky economy.

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