It’s officially tax season. Well, almost. The IRS has announced it will start accepting e-File and Free File returns on Jan. 17, 2012. But for now, you should start compiling all your tax documents so you are ready to file.
The filing deadline this year will be April 17, 2012. Why the extra two days? April 15, the typical deadline, falls on a Sunday, and April 16 is Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia, which is treated as a federal holiday. As a result, 2011 returns are due April 17, 2012. But why wait? Get working on your return today.
If you are unsure if you have to file a return this year, the IRS offers an Interactive Tax Assistant that will help you decide what you should do. The new resource takes users through a series of short question and answers related to tax law.
Even if you don’t have to file this year, you should. I know, you’re probably asking why someone would file a return if they don’t have to. Well, certain credits are refundable, meaning you can receive the credit even if you did not pay income tax. For example, students in their first four years of college are eligible for the American Opportunity Credit, $1000 of which is refundable. For more information, see this IRS Tax Tip.
My name is Jana M. Luttenegger and I am an associate in the Business Division at the Davis Brown Law Firm. I have a B.B. in Economics from Western Illinois University, and a J.D. from the University of Iowa. While at the University of Iowa, I prepared tax returns with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.