The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Business

February 9, 2013

Is confusion tax-deductible?

Self-filers may have to read between lines

ANDERSON, Ind. — Do you have your W-2? Your 1040-EZ? What about form 1099-C?

Sorry, first-time tax preparers, confusion isn’t deductible. But fortunately, there’s a wealth of information out there to help guide the not-so-savvy do-it-yourselfer in advance of the April 15 federal tax filing deadline.

“There’s a lot coming at you at once,” said H&R Block tax advisor Dan Royer, who gave a seminar on tax preparation at Anderson Public Library last week.

In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service said about 64 percent of individual tax returns filed through April 2 were done by tax pros like Royer, who’s been filing on his own since 1952. Some of the remaining 32 percent “self-filed.”

For some of “self-filers” — including recent college grads, retirees and other likely first-timers — the 4,000-plus-word tax code can be overwhelming, especially when entering the wrong number on the wrong line could lead to missed deductions or an audit.

“Whether folks should attempt to prepare their own tax return depends on a couple of things,” Royer said. “First would be how much they know about tax law and application, and secondly, the complexity of the return they are attempting to prepare.”

All tax returns are relatively complex, but some, like Marla Austin’s, are a little simpler.

Austin’s had her taxes done professionally for years. But this year, she’s considering tackling them herself since her kids have graduated college and she and her husband have retired.

“There are fewer deductions to worry about, I think,” said Austin, 55, of Anderson, who said she’s using last year’s return as a guide. “I’m not as concerned about missing something.”

Missed deductions are most D.I.Y.-ers’ biggest mistake, Royer said.

“The most common problem I have seen with ‘self-prepared’ tax returns is that the taxpayer has failed to get all the credit they have coming to them, thus coming up short on the amount of their refund,” he said.

He advises starting early — collect your work-issued W-2, receipts and find all the forms you need online or at your local library.

“The more time they give themselves, the better their chances of getting everything they have coming to them,” Royer said.

And be aware of changes to the tax code, he said, noting Congress has made over 5,000 such changes since 2001.

In Indiana, there are a few taking effect this year, including a series of 24 “add-backs” — where taxes paid based on income to the state, which were deducted on the federal return, have to be added back on your state return.

To avoid confusion and worry, some 80 percent of 2010 self-filers opted to use tax preparation software or websites that “advertise they’ll ‘guarantee’ their calculations,” Royer said.

However, “If you read the fine print, and you make a mistake filling that thing out, they probably won’t back you up” in the event of an audit, he said.

But even in the most confusing tax situation, it’s possible to get a decent return.

“I had a lady who was newly divorced and had custody of the minor children, very apprehensive and fearful of what the result was going to be,” he said. “When we finished, she got a very nice refund, and she was so relieved and grateful, she started to cry.  Now that’s what I really like about this job, when I can help people like that.”

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

1
Text Only
Local Business
  • NWS - HB0715 - Chuck Pagano Pagano breakfast sold out A breakfast with Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is sold out, organizers said Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cellular Connection to host backpack giveaway Residents in Anderson will benefit from a national backpack giveaway campaign on Aug. 2.

    July 23, 2014

  • Travel restrictions on Interstate 69 this weekend During at least the next eight weekends, travel north of Anderson on Interstate 69 will be restricted as damaged concrete is repaired.

    July 22, 2014

  • Senior housing request continued A request for final plat approval for a senior housing development on property near Madison Park Church of God was continued Tuesday. The Anderson Plan Commission could not consider the request because of a lack of a quorum to conduct business.

    July 22, 2014

  • Street Department purchases 2 pickup trucks The Anderson Street Department received approval to buy two Dodge Ram pickup trucks on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • FEA - HB0722 - SAVI - 1 Staying strong during adversity

    When doctors told Judy Best she had cancer she was shocked, but she never lost hope.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - HB0721 - 4-H parade 3 - DH Scholarship recipients relish parade acknowledgement

    Taylor Jennings and Shelby Farmer took their last stroll around their hometown Sunday. At least, their last before starting college in the fall.

    July 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • Senior housing sought for Madison Park A senior housing development proposed almost six months ago for the Madison Park Church of God property is now moving forward.

    July 20, 2014

  • Wilkerson, Jesse mug Jesse Wilkerson: Unplug to reconnect I am inspired and influenced by people in our community who are creating a legacy of service. These people have disconnected long enough to realize there is more to their life than their job or personal success.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ-HB0720-Coldbeer-TM.jpg Brouhaha over cold beer

    Warm beer lines the shelves inside the Ricker’s BP on Eighth Street less than a foot from a refrigerated section, but the convenience store is not planning to move the beer anytime soon. That’s because a state law prohibits Ricker’s from selling cold beer to customers.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide