Checking The Status Of Your Tax Refund

There are a few ways that you can go about checking the status of your tax refund. The IRS actually makes this easy for you to do. The following are some things you should know when you want to check for information about your refund.

1. One way to check your refund is to go the IRS website and search for the where’s my refund button. It is an interactive process where you answer a few simple questions. You will need to know your tax payer identification number, the status you used for filing and the dollar amount of your refund. This system is available at all times. You can find out if your information has been received and is being processed and also what date you can expect your refund.

2. Information should be available three days after the IRS sends you information saying the have received your return. This is when you e-file. If you mail in your return it will usually take three or four weeks for your information to be available.

3.  Where’s my refund also has links to information about your individual situation if you need them. For example if you did not receive your refund within a certain amount of days after the IRS said you should, you can start action to trace your refund.

4.  Anyone who is visually impaired can also use this service if they use they have the correct equipment.

5. For taxpayers who do not have access to the Internet or who would rather use the phone, that is an option as well. You can call the IRS hot line number and enter the same information you would need for where’s my refund.

6.  The IRS now even has a smart-phone app that allows tax payers to check on their refund status. You can download the app from the Apple store or the Android store. The download is a free download and easy to use.

How To Do Your Own Taxes

Filing your taxes each year is like running a race with hurdles and hoops to jump over and through with no clear idea of what prize will await at the end of the race. Sure it may be fun for some, but if you are like most people, it is a dreaded affair. At least there is the hope of a positive lump sum of money when you are done.

Doing your own taxes is much cheaper than going to a CPA and is probably worth the effort on your part should you not have a very complex return. When should you fork out the money and get help from a CPA?

1.      You have inherited a large sum of money. There is a complex set of rules that your CPA will know about when you receive a large gift or amount of money. It’s best to trust their advice in this situation.

2.      You are starting a small business. This is highly recommended when you start; then, if you feel comfortable, you can do your own taxes in the years to come. You want to get as much money as possible and flying solo when starting out is risky.

While getting your taxes done by a professional has gotten cheaper over the years, it still is not fun paying someone before the possibility of paying more back to the state and federal governments. You will find that it may include a little painful stretching as you venture to do your own taxes this year, but it will be cheaper, and you will feel satisfied with the new skills you have learned.

The most common concern with doing your own taxes is that you will not get as much back from Uncle Sam than if you went through someone like H&R Block. TurboTax guarantees you will get the maximum amount by using their software. And they have boiled down the complex federal tax system to simple, easy steps. Pricing on TurboTax software packages range from the simple filer for free to someone that owns a corporation. Even so, it will be cheaper than having a professional do it for you. The good thing about TurboTax is that it makes it simple enough for the amateur.

Even though the price is cheap and the process is simple, there are a couple things outside of TurboTax to remember.

1.      Keep track of all of your employers, investments, retirement accounts, charitable donations, and other income before you start. This will help you not miss out on potential returns and will help you miss out on penalties.

2.      Organize. The better you keep things together, the easier the process will be.  After you have written down a list of all accounts and income, follow up with employers or fund managers that you have not received anything from. Once things are put together it involves following easy steps that TurboTax provides.

About the author: Gunter Jameson writes about minimalism, pell grants, and anything else that interests him.

Taxes: How To Obtain Information You May Need

When filing their 2011 taxes a taxpayer may need to look at their past tax return for a vital piece of information.   This information is available from the Internal Revenue Service.   When attempting to obtain this information there are certain criteria you must know.

  1. The IRS offers three ways to obtain this information.   You may ask for it in a written letter, search for it online or you may call them by phone.  You can also obtain forms to file your 2011 taxes through these options.
  2. This is a free service for a transcript and records are available from the IRS from as far back as the last three previous years.
  3. This transcript will only be for the original tax form filed with any attachments that were included.  If you filed a corrected return this will not show on the transcript.
  4. You can request a tax account transcript that will reflect any changes made after the initial filing.  These transcripts will reflect personal information, schedule of tax return and your adjusted gross income.
  5. This information can be obtained by logging on to www.IRS.gov.  On the left side of the webpage under online services you will find a tool  a link called Order Tax Return or Account Transcript or if you prefer to call the toll free number is 800-908-9946.  You will receive a voice prompt that will guide you to what you need.   These options take about 5-10 business days to receive your transcripts.
  6. If you like doing everything in writing and have time to wait 30 days for this transcript you can request the forms by mail.  You will need to use Forms 4506T or 4506T-EZ to order by mail.
  7. To receive copies of returns older than 3 years old, you will need to complete the Form 4506 and mail it with $57 to the Internal Revenue Service listed or your area.  It is recommended that you allow 60 days to receive these returns.
  8. You can obtain the printable forms you need to request a transcript at the IRS’ website or call and request them from 800-TAX-FORM.

The Internal Revenue Service has made obtaining copies of your tax returns easy by following these suggestions.   If you need a past tax return for information requested on your 2011 taxes, everything you need is available and easily obtainable through three simple options.