Don’t Panic! Last-Minute Tax Tips for Last-Minute Filers

Don’t Panic! Last-Minute Tax Tips for Last-Minute Filers



SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Kansas City, MO–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 5, 2005–H&R Block is reminding taxpayers that there’s still time to take advantage of key tax tips in order to save money this year. By focusing on the tax code’s details – including deductions that are new or set to expire – taxpayers at all income levels can reap potentially big financial savings.

“The danger of making careless and costly mistakes increases dramatically for the millions of Hispanic families who wait until the last minute to prepare and file their tax returns, said Javier Moreno, H&R Block tax professional.”

With the deadline fast approaching, here are H&R Block’s rundown of the top tips that can help you keep more cash on April 15:

1. Get your records in order. Get a folder or file drawer ready to save W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s, and all other relevant receipts and documents. Even if you don’t plan to file until the last minute, you will save time and worry if you are well-prepared and organized.

2. IRA contributions. You can make contributions to your IRA through April 15 for the 2004 tax year. For 2004, the contribution limit is $3,000. If you were at least 50 years old on December 31, 2004, you may make an additional catch-up contribution of up to $500. Your contribution cannot exceed the lesser of (1) the maximum allowed or (2) your earned income.

3. Even though you are rushed…Take the time to double-check your return. Check your math and all Social Security numbers. According to the IRS, these are the two most common mistakes. For example, suppose your W-2 shows gross wages of $47,991 and you enter $47,199 on your return. This simple transposition error will lead to delays, IRS notices, and other problems that could have been easily avoided by taking the time to double-check.

4. Try e-filing this year – you’ll like it! Just because you’ve waited until the last minute to file doesn’t mean you have to wait a long time for your refund. On average, a refund on an electronically-filed return will come in 8 to 15 days (if electronically deposited) or weeks, as opposed to a paper-filed return, which may take several weeks or even months to receive. In addition, you’ll avoid post office lines, you’ll know that the IRS received your return, and you’re more likely to make fewer errors.

5. Sales Tax Deduction. New for this year, taxpayers who paid more in state and local sales tax than they did in state income tax in 2004 can choose to deduct the sales tax instead of the state income tax. That’s a big win for taxpayers living in the eight states without state income tax. It’s also a bonus for those who purchased certain big-ticket items — such as an automobile, boat or home building supplies – so track down those receipts and start crunching numbers. The Internal Revenue Service website (irs.gov) provides tables that can help you calculate whether it makes more sense to deduct your state income tax or sales tax, even if you didn’t keep all your receipts. The deduction will also be in effect through tax year 2005, so it might be a good time to start keeping receipts and to trade in those wheels for something new!

6. Extensions. There are many myths about requesting an extension to file your tax return. The most common is that an extension to file is an extension to pay. It is not. If you file an extension, you must first estimate your total tax liability for 2004 using the information available to you, e.g. wages, capital gains, etc. Make your estimate as accurate as possible. You must then submit payment for your balance due by April 15 or you’ll be hit with penalties and interest (although the penalties will be lower if you file an extension than if you do not).

7. Consider using a tax professional. Although you may be a “do-it-yourselfer,” if you are filing at the last minute, you may not have time to bone up on the many tax changes that took effect in 2004. Every year taxpayers overpay by an average of $400 per return. This might be a good year to put your trust in a tax professional, who will help ensure that you are taking advantage of the new laws and getting every benefit you deserve.

For more information or find a Spanish speaking tax professional in your area, visit www.hrblock.com or call 1-800-HRBLOCK.

About H&R Block

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2005, H&R Block is the world’s largest tax services provider, having served more than 400 million clients since 1955. The sixth largest retailer in the world, H&R Block has more than 12,000 locations serving taxpayers primarily in the United States, Canada and Australia.

H&R Block’s subsidiaries deliver tax services and financial advice, investment and mortgage services, and business accounting and consulting services. H&R Block Financial Advisors Inc. offers investment services and securities products. With approximately 1,000 financial advisors serving clients at approximately 270 locations, H&R Block Financial Advisors is a member NYSE, SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. H&R Block Inc. is not a registered broker-dealer and is not an investment advisor. H&R Block Mortgage Corp. offers a full range of retail mortgage services. Option One Mortgage Corp. provides mortgage services and offers wholesale mortgages through large financial institutions and a network of 24,000 independent mortgage brokers. RSM McGladrey Business Services Inc. and its subsidiaries serve mid-sized businesses and their owners with tax, accounting and business consulting services, as well as personal wealth management services. H&R Block Small Business Resources is a new business currently operating in 14 U. S. cities that serves the tax, financial and business needs of small business owners. H&R Block Small Business Resources is not a licensed CPA firm. For more information about the company, visit our Online Press Center at http://www.hrblock.com/presscenter

–30–

CONTACT:

Fleishman Hillard

Patricia Alvarado or Jocelyn Jara

(305) 520-2000

or

H&R Block

Sheila Dougherty

(816) 701-4476

Don’t Panic! Last-Minute Tax Tips for Last-Minute Filers