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Are you prepared to file your taxes? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 February 2018 12:54

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



It has been slightly more than a week since W-2 forms were distributed to employees throughout the U.S., which means tax season is upon the country. For those preparing to get their tax forms together, there is some advice to take into account. 

“People should have already gotten their W-2 and 1099 forms, so be sure and keep those collected and keep them nearby,” John Lee, CPA and owner of John Lee Accounting, said. “When you get things ready to go to your tax preparer, it also wouldn’t hurt to have a checklist of everything you need. Tax preparers are also typically going to want some form of identification and if you’re going to a new preparer, it’s good to have that. It’s important to have everything organized because not only does that make for a more accurate return, it makes the preparer’s job easier and will cut down on the costs of getting everything prepared.”

“Bring everything they think they need for taxes, any papers, basically everything because sometimes people forget to bring something they don’t think relates to taxes but it does, so they should bring everything,” Irma Silva, owner of Irma’s Taxes, added. “Make sure and have everything organized and if they have any questions about something they receive in the mail, bring it.”

Both Lee and Silva also agreed it is important for people to take care of tax preparation sooner rather than later. 

“It’s the time factor,” Lee said. “If you have it done now and for whatever reason find you’re missing something or if your preparer has questions, you’re not fighting the clock as much and rushing around getting everything together.”

Both also offered encouragement for seeing an accountant for a second opinion if needed. 

“Sometimes with the tax programs, if you answer a question wrong, they may lose some credit or potentially do something illegal or something that’s wrong, so it’s better to have a second look,” Silva said. 

“The average for people who use a CPA to do their taxes versus doing everything on their own is about an $800 difference in the tax bill,” Lee added. “That’s the biggest reason I see. Another issue is the amount of time, it takes about an average of 10 hours for someone to do their returns.”

For those using tax preparation software like TaxAct or TurboTax, Silva and Lee emphasized making sure everything is accurate as possible. 

“It’s good to have an idea or some ballpark figure of what you might owe and things like that and be sure to match everything up to what the program wants,” Lee said. “Then make sure to double-check what you put and make sure everything got put in right. And like I said earlier, it’s always a good idea to have everything organized as you’re going through.”

“I would actually say to not use a program,” Silva said. “But if they do, I would say take it to a tax preparer and get a second look because there are some people who can do it right but there’s others who fill out some of those things wrong and that can cause problems.”

This year’s deadline is April 17 and both Lee and Silva said they expect to see an influx of customers in their offices in the coming weeks. Both also added some last encouragement for those going through all the tax preparation. 

“Keep everything organized and even if you think you have everything prepared, it’s not an awful idea to maybe have a second look at it because the last thing anyone wants is a big envelope in June or July from the IRS about something bad,” Lee said. 

“Even if you know you’ll have to pay, it’s better to go ahead and file so you don’t have any extra penalties on top of that,” Silva said. “That and bring everything you think you’ll need for your taxes and keep all that close by so you know what to reference.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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