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Tax-Time Tips

If you shudder at the thought of preparing your own taxes, you’re not alone. When finding the right person to do your taxes, get recommendations from family and friends. Also, search tax preparers in your area and check each one’s website for information on their qualifications. Look for signs that the preparer stays informed about the latest tax issues, like writing a tax blog or contributing to media stories about taxes. Look for complaints. Check with licensing agencies or professional organizations to find out if complaints have been filed against a preparer. Also, expect to pay between $200 and $500 for a federal return, but fees can vary depending on your location and the complexity of your return.

If you don’t want to hire someone to do your taxes and you feel comfortable handling your taxes alone, look into online tax programs. Most walk you through your tax return step by step and only cost a small fee. These are just a few tips to get you started. Please consult a tax advisor if you have questions or concerns about your tax return.

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Here are some types to help making tax time alittle easier.

  1. Set up an IRA or contribute to your current one. You have until April 17th to make IRA contributions to count toward your 2011 Tax Return. An IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan that allows you to take advantage of compounding interest that grows over time until you are able to begin making withdrawals upon reaching age 59½.
  2. Get your refund faster with direct deposit. When filing your taxes, select the option of having your refund directly deposited to your account. It’s faster and safer than the post office. To set up direct deposit, you will need your financial institution’s routing and transit number.

  3. Do the math. If you are getting a large refund back, don’t get too excited. It actually means you’re getting too much taken out of your paycheck throughout the year. You may need to re-evaluate your exemptions. It’s always better to break even. 


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