Tax tips

February 27, 2011 

Monday, April 18

Taxpayers will have a few extra days to file. Returns aren't due until April 18 because of Emancipation Day, celebrated April 15 in the District of Columbia.

If you're waiting for forms to arrive in the mail, don't. The IRS decided not to mail them this year, a cost-saving measure that reflects the reality that nearly 70 percent of all taxpayers filed electronically.

IN THE MAIL: If you file a paper return, you'll be sending to a different address this year.

If you are sending a refund, you'll be sending the checks and forms to Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 37008, Hartford, Conn. 06176-0008

Owe nothing? Send your return to Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Kansas City, Mo. 64999-002

NEED HELP: If you earned less than $49,000, you can get free face-to-face help on your tax return at IRS offices or from Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs.

Find a list of those IRS offices at www.irs.gov/localcontacts/index.html.

For a list of VITA sites call 800-906-9887 or check www.irs.gov/individuals/article/.

OPEN HOUSES: IRS offices in Charlotte and Greensboro will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 26 to help with returns, account inquiries and payment agreements.

DOCUMENTS: "Get your records in order, get everything together, don't be in a rush," said Barbara Weltman, author of tax guides for J.K. Lasser. Needed records include W-2s, 1099s and receipts for charitable deductions.

DEDUCTIONS AND CREDITS: Make sure you're claimingevery one you're entitled to, said Turbotax Vice President Bob Meighan. For example, he said, if you volunteer at the food kitchen you can't deduct your time but you can deduct your mileage to get there.

CHECK FOR ERRORS: "Review, review, review," the Internal Revenue Service says. Don't forget to include your Social Security number and sign your return.

DON'T GO IT ALONE: "Software serves as a double-check," said Mark Luscombe, a principal tax analyst at CCH. So do professional preparers.

FILE ELECTROICALLY: "You're going to get a more accurate return," says Terry Lemons, IRS spokesman. It will help speed your refund, especially if you choose direct deposit.

LOOK AHEAD: It's not too early to plan for 2011 taxes. Are you having too much - or too little - withheld from your paycheck? Are you considering selling a house or business? If so, consider doing it this year, when capital gains rates are still low.

Associated Press

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