OP/ED Tax Time- This is my advice and opinion, but please ask your tax professional how the laws apply to your specific situation. I’m not an expert.
If you didn’t do your tax return yet, you better get an extention filed today! If you owe money and don’t send your return in today you will be charged interest and penalties. If you owe money and you file an extension, you can avoid some of the penalties, but you still have to pay interest on what you owe because it wasn’t paid on time.
If you are getting a refund and didn’t file yet, it shouldn’t be a worry. I have never had the IRS complain if you file a few days late when they owe YOU money. (Technically they COULD fine you for being late, but I have never heard of them doing so)
There are two credits you should make sure you take a look at this year. They will be missed by thousands of taxpayers and mean a bigger refund if you qualify.
General Sales Tax Deduction– This is only usable if you are filing “itemized Deductions” (schedule A) rather than the “Standard Deduction.” It is most useful in states that don’t have state income tax (Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming), or if you made qualifying big ticket purchase (like a car or motor home) Under this deduction you can subtract the amount of sales tax you paid rather than the amount of state income tax you paid under taxes on your schedule A. If you live in a no income tax state or if you bought a qualifying item you may be able to deduct more on your schedule A, (then if you use your state income tax amount- because you use the higher of the two) thereby saving you money. Here’s the info from the IRS http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=152316,00
The Making Work Pay tax credit is a new credit worth up to $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples. You may have already received the benefit of this credit because your employer reduced your tax withholding on your paycheck, BUT-
Even if your income tax withholding was reduced during 2009 because of the credit, you MUST STILL complete Schedule M, attach it to your return, and claim the credit on your return to benefit from it. Not claiming or reporting the credit properly could screw up your refund.
IRS written info on Making Work Pay- http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=204447,00.html
IRS video on Youtube explaining Making Work Pay http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzdIElXDqhg&feature=channel_page