Tax time is here. By now you have received all of your W2 forms, 1099 forms, mortgage interest statements, and everything else needed to do your taxes. But, have you gotten started on them? Or are you procrastinating like me?
One thing that helps getting your taxes done quickly and correctly is having great tax software. We don't always want to go in to a tax office. Many of us are comfortable doing our taxes ourselves as long as we have the proper guidance. And what better software to use than that created by the tax experts themselves, H&R Block. They have put everything that they know into an awesome site, and even an iPad app to help you get your taxes done right.
You can begin your tax return on your iPad and complete your return on your PC. Or you can start it on your PC and finish it on the go. Having trouble? You can choose to have your taxes prepared by an H&R Block tax professional via video conferencing or chat on your PC or iPad. Or, you can just use the real-time chat feature to ask questions and get advice.
There are also some important facts and changes that you need to know that apply to 2013 taxes. Here are a few things that H&R Block wants you to remember:
The top things to know before you file taxes in 2013:
- IRS announced a delay – The IRS began processing e-filed returns on January 30, eight days later than expected this year. There are a few forms that the IRS will not update until February or March, but 98 percent of taxpayers’ returns can be processed beginning January 30.
- Payroll tax holiday has expired – While it doesn't impact your tax return, it certainly may affect your everyday financial decisions as 160 million American workers will see their take-home pay decrease. The 2-percent payroll tax holiday, which amounted to an automatic raise for workers in 2011 and 2012, expired at the end of the year. So, if you earn $50,000 you have probably seen a $1,000 decrease in your take-home pay over the course of the year.
- Millions may be eligible to claim casualty losses – Victims of Hurricane Sandy may be able to claim a casualty loss for any damages not covered by insurance. Claiming a casualty loss as an itemized deduction could mean significant tax savings for millions of taxpayers. Losses in a federally declared disaster area in 2012 can be claimed on either an amended 2011 return or a 2012 return.
- Energy credits have been extended – Taxpayers may claim energy-efficiency credits for up to 10 percent of the cost of eligible home improvements, such as energy efficient windows and doors or insulation, with a maximum lifetime credit of $500. If taxpayers already claimed credits equal to or greater than $500 in previous years, then they cannot claim the credit on a 2012 return.
- Education credits extended – The American Opportunity Credit was extended through 2017, allowing taxpayers to claim up to $2,500 for each of the first four years of college for each student. Through 2013, the Tuition and Fees Deduction provides a reduction in taxable income of up to $4,000. The Lifetime Learning Credit is worth up to $2,000 per return for post-secondary degree programs. These education benefits cannot be combined for the same student, so taxpayers should choose the one that is most beneficial. Also, with today’s average college graduate having more than $25,000 in student loan debt, they should remember to deduct student loan interest.
- Health care reform – 22 million consumers will be impacted by the Affordable Care Act, which is the biggest tax code change in more than 20 years. Filing a 2012 tax return may make it easier for many individuals and families to enroll in health insurance through a government sponsored exchange beginning October 2013. It’s important this tax season to learn about what tax benefits may be available to you and your family to help cover the cost of health care, and H&R Block can help.
I have 4 codes to giveaway to my readers. These codes will enable you to use H&R Block At Home Premium to complete you tax return. This is a $49.95 value.
To enter to win simply leave me a comment and let me know if what you usually use to do your taxes.
The contest will run until Friday, March 15, 2013.
And now… I'm off to do my own taxes!
Disclosure: I received a code to try out H&R Block at Home Premium in exchange for this giveaway. All opinions are my own.