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FINAL TIPS ON 2012 TAX PREP

You can file without paying anyone to do it for you. If your income is $57,000 or less, you can use free federal tax preparation software to file your tax returns online for free through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance. To use the software, go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov\freefile and, of course, anyone, regardless of income, can use the free file fill-able forms which are online.

Refunds: The IRS stated that it issued refunds last year to over 90% of e-filers who chose to direct deposit within 21 days. They expect that same ration to hold for this year. If you file your taxes the old fashioned way with paper, you can generally expect to see a refund within six weeks. If you file electronically but choose to have a paper check refund that should be issued within three weeks from when the IRS processes the return. Refunds from paper filed amended returns generally take eight to twelve weeks to arrive. Even though there have been tax changes in Congress, the IRS said that they do not expect a delay in refunds. The IRS began accepting returns on January 30. There are some delays: However, if you took certain credits, the IRS expects that there will be a delay in getting the refund to you because of updates required to their software. Those credits include education credits, residential energy credits, depreciation of property, and general business credits. In other words, you will be able to complete your return now but the returns won’t be able to be electronically filed until the IRS is ready for it. In other words, they have to update software. That’s why there is a delay in getting your refund.

If you would like to check on the status of your refund, go to www.irs.gov and find “Where’s My Refund?” You can also call the refund hotline at 1-800-829-1954.

Where to go to get the forms: Because more and more people are filing electronically, it’s hard to find the paper forms. In the past you could always find them in a library but now some libraries have them and some don’t. The latest info from the Service is that the libraries will not be getting forms until about the middle to end of February. Of course, you can go online at www.irs.gov to get any form. Although I think it is unusual, most post offices are no longer receiving the IRS packets. Forms can also be ordered at 1-800-829-3676.