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DON’T GET OVERWHELMED AT TAX FILING TIME

Here are some important facts that will help you in filing your 2012 income tax return:

1. The Deadline: April 15 is the last day to file your income tax return this year (without filing an extension). Most people know that, but some years the date is actually a little later because the 15th falls on a weekend or a holiday.
Extensions: You can get a six-month extension to October 15 by filling out Form 4868. Keep in mind that you must file this form by April 15 in order to be in compliance. Also remember that if taxes are due, even though you take an extension, your tax is still due. Many times people tell me that doesn’t make sense because they don’t know what the tax bill is. While I agree with you, I am just telling you what the law says. In other words, if it turns out that October 15 comes along and you file a tax return that shows you owe money, even when you pay it the IRS will still charge you interest and, perhaps, a small penalty.
2. Who Must File: Not everyone is required to file a tax return. It depends on the type of income and the amount of your gross income; also, your filing status, your age, and whether or not anyone is able to claim you as a dependent. Any taxpayer who is not a dependent of another taxpayer is required to file a tax return if his gross income exceeds a certain dollar amount which I will list below:
a. If you are single, gross income must exceed $9,750.
b. If you are single and 65 or older, the number is $11,200.
c. For head of household it’s $12,500.
d. For head of household 65 or older, it’s $13,950.
e. For married filing jointly, it’s $19,500.
f. If you are married filing jointly and one of you is 65 or older the number jumps to $20,650.
g. If you are married filing jointly and both of you are over 65, then the number is $21,800.
h. If you are a qualifying widow or widower, it’s $15,700.
Keep in mind that when you determine gross income, you don’t include Social Security benefits that you receive.
3. The Standard Deductions: Standard deductions vary depending upon your filing status, and here is what they are:
a. $5,950 for single and married filing separately.
b. $8,700 for head of household.
c. $11,900 for married filing jointly and a qualifying widow or widower.
d. Also, there are additional deductions for folks 65 and over and anyone who is blind, and that is $1,450 for single or head of household and $1,150 for married or qualifying widow or widower.