For many taxpaying American citizens, the months of March and April can be an incredibly stressful time of year. From compiling the right financial documents to double-checking that all your W2 forms arrived in the mail, preparing your tax returns for the official April due date can be nothing short of daunting.
As Brevard County tax attorneys, we routinely represent clients in proceedings before the IRS. It is our pleasure to provide some insight into the most frequently asked questions during tax season, and help you find some motivation for checking taxes off your “to-do” list.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tax Returns
The biggest and most salient question people usually ask is also the simplest to answer: When are my personal taxes due, anyway? If you do not file an extension (Form 4868), your taxes are due on April 15th. The Filing Deadline for Maine and Massachusetts Residents is April 17th this year due to states' April 15th Patriots’ Day holiday and D.C. April 16th Emancipation Day holiday.
Of course, there are still many questions you may have about your taxes. Because there are thousands of possible tax situations – as well as innumerable deductions and exemptions available to those that qualify for them – it’s always best to review your concerns with a qualified accountant, or to hire a designated tax preparation specialist. That being said, here are a few of the most universal tax questions we’ve heard.
Q: When should I consider filing for an extension?
All the procrastinators out there can breathe a sigh of relief: The IRS allows taxpayers to file an extension on their taxes, to account for logistical troubles and more serious emergencies alike. Whether you’re overseas, dealing with a difficult personal situation like the loss of a loved one, or just don’t have all your financial information together quite yet, you may want to consider filing for a six-month extension with IRS Form 4868. Be warned that your tax bill is still due by April 15th, however.
Q: What’s the minimum income required to file?
Unfortunately there’s no easy answer to this question, as many factors play into determining tax thresholds. As a very general rule of thumb, you will probably need to pay federal taxes if your total income from all sources exceeds $10,000. If you’re a freelancer, you’ll need to pay taxes on anything you made above $500. Luckily, the IRS provides an interactive tax tool to determine how you should file.
Q: Can I file my taxes online?
Yes! Whether filed through the free IRS online system or through a private tax preparation service like TurboTax or H&R Block Online Tax Filing, filing your taxes online is a legitimate way to submit your returns. However, it’s important to select the right tax filing software for your needs, and to carefully check the companies’ credentials before giving out sensitive information. Households with a high net-worth and complex revenue streams may also benefit more from working with a skilled accountant.
Q: Will my credit score be affected by an IRS tax audit?
Not by itself, but if you pay for your 2019 taxes on credit, it could indeed affect your FICO score. Although audits sound scary, the majority of tax audits are routine and involve only minor corrections to your returns. But in certain cases, you may want to consider seeking legal counsel once you’ve received notice of an audit, especially if you’re also struggling with credit card debt or facing bankruptcy.
Q: What are the benefits to filing jointly as a married couple?
Married couples don’t have to file jointly, but there are certain benefits to filing your taxes together. Aside from the simplicity of filing a single return for your entire household, it can reduce your tax burden if there is a significant income disparity. You’ll also receive a $24,000 standard deduction, rather than the $12,000 deduction given to single filers.
Q: How long will it take to get my refund?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is one of the most common questions received by the IRS each year. Depending on the complexity of your tax returns and the banking institution you use, your refund may take a lot longer to process. Conversely, if you’re a single filer with a single source of income, your returns could be processed much faster. The rough guideline given by the IRS is within 21 calendar days.
Call (321) 320-6088 for Skilled Representation with the IRS
Once you send off your taxes this year, you may eventually receive notice that you’ve been selected for an audit. At the Buchalter Law Group, we have more than 40 years of combined experience protecting the rights of our clients. If you’re selected for an audit, we can help you organize your financial records and handle any questions or complications that arise, giving you peace of mind for the future.
Whether you need help with filing for bankruptcy or assistance with appealing a tax decision, our doors are always open! Contact our Brevard County tax lawyers at (321) 320-6088 for a free consultation today.