It’s Tax Season; Get Prepared To File

Tax season is upon us and many people have already received their W-2 statements for 2013, giving just under three months to get those taxes filed before April 15. Michelle Bachtel, senior tax adviser for H&R Block, said there haven’t been many big changes in the tax laws for individuals this year.

“As far as individuals are concerned, there are not a lot of changes on the tax laws. Some of our credits have been extended, such as the energy credits, the child tax credit, charitable distribution credit – some of those have been extended through 2017. They were originally set to expire for this year, but they’ve extended those on,” said Bachtel.

Bachtel said the number one piece of advice she can offer to those who are preparing to file their taxes is to be organized.

“You’ve got to establish a place in your home where you can start to collect all of those documents that you need. You’re going to want to know what to expect, so sit down and do an inventory of your income and your expenses for the year. Figure out if those are going to be mailed to you or if those are things you’re going to have to go online to collect, because a lot of businesses are going in that direction now,” said Bachtel.

Bachtel advises taking that information with you, if you decide to have someone assist you with your filing.

The IRS officially opens on Jan. 31, and will begin processing returns then. Bachtel said it’s possible to file before that date, but they won’t be processed until the IRS offices open. She said refunds are expected to take 14–21 days and the earliest any refunds will be received will be after Valentine’s Day.

The Henry F. Schricker Public Library is offering a free tax preparation service, and H&R Block is also available to assist with taxes. Bachtel said there are a number of benefits to having a professional tax service assist you with the process of filing taxes.

“All of our tax pros are certified; they are registered through the Internal Revenue Service. Combined, the tax pros in this office have over 56 years experience, so that’s a lot of experience to share between each other. You know they will be done right; we stand behind the work that we do,” said Bachtel.