Paul L. Caron

Sunday, March 31, 2013

WSJ: Last-Minute Tax Tips

Wall Street Journal Tax Report:  Last-Minute Tax Tips, by Laura Saunders:

Despite the year-end cliffhanger on Capitol Hill, lawmakers made few surprising changes to the tax code for 2012. But that doesn't mean taxpayers won't stumble into trouble, given the rise of electronic filing, expanded reporting requirements, computerized document matching—and old-fashioned human nature.

Common problems fall into two general categories. One involves flubs for which taxpayers must fork over interest and penalties—or get a smaller refund. The second category of pitfall includes major quagmires that require enormous of amounts of time, money and trouble to resolve.

Some of these tax disasters are self-inflicted, such as neglecting to open mail from the Internal Revenue Service. Others arise from ignorance of the law, such as filing a joint return with a tax cheat. One of the newest and worst tax nightmares, identity theft, can strike without warning.

Here is a breakdown of the thorniest issues, along with ways to avoid them. For more last-minute tax tips, see the articles that follow.

  • Taxpayer identity theft
  • Failing to declare a foreign account
  • Not filing at all
  • Not opening mail from the IRS
  • Signing a joint return with a tax cheat

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I would argue that for many filers, the greatest challenge is properly determining dependency; followed closely for those with kids in college by determining which is the best education credit and the correct amount to claim.

May not affect the high-end folks, but a great challenge for 10's of millions of filers.

Posted by: Jay Wiedwald | Mar 31, 2013 10:57:42 PM