Preparing Your 2018 Tax Return

We are now beyond February 15 when income tax information was to have been sent out.  If you haven’t already prepared your return, here are some tips to help ease the process:

  • Did you know that there is an IRS webpage called the Get Ready page that includes steps to take. Check it out on IRS.gov.
  • Have you always been a paper filer of your returns? This year might be the year to consider e-filing.  Not computer friendly?  There are several options available:
    • Free tax preparation is available through various resources:
      • IRS Free File services is available on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go mobile app which will allow you to prepare your taxes on a tablet or smartphone. If your income is less than $66,000, you can prepare your return on IRS Free File.
      • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA and TCE) programs are available nationwide for taxpayers who earn $55,000 or less. This program is mainly for people age 60 or older and focuses on tax issues unique to seniors.  If you wish to find the closest VITA site, visit IRS.gov and search for “VITA” or call 800-906-9887.  AARP participates in the TCE program and you can find information at aarp.org or by calling 888-227-7669.
    • Paid professionals include enrolled agents, certified public accountants and attorneys as well as other preparers without a professional credential. All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number or a PTIN and must sign the returns including their PTIN.  The IRS has a page on IRS.gov called Choosing a Tax Professional page has information about tax preparer credentials and qualifications to help you vet a preparer.

Good luck in preparing your taxes.

 

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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner® as well as a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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