Bottoms up and bellies out
Wheeling into 2007

And so it begins ...

Happynewyear_2_1 As the graphic says, Happy 2007!

Just a few comments this (late) morning. First, I hope you weathered your year-end revelry well, and are not too bleary-eyed or pained on this first day of a spanking new year.

Secondly, get ready: Tax season starts tomorrow. Our tax calendar there in the left column is already counting down the days.

Yeah, I know tomorrow is a national day of mourning for former President Ford and federal offices will be shut down. But you remember that old chestnut about death and taxes and how they vie with each other for ultimate control of our lives? Well, the IRS is coming out swinging this year.

The agency has announced that tomorrow's federal office closures will not affect tax deadlines. In fact, says the IRS, there will be no extension of the Jan. 2 due date for federal tax deposits. Plus, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) will operate as usual tomorrow. There are a few instances where the IRS will grant a waiver; details here.

Yes, I know this affects primarily businesses. But the point is that the tax man waits for no one. So I'm just saying, get ready. Tax time 2007 for us individual filers is about to start in full force.

And that leads to my third point: resolutions.

I usually don't make them because I usually break them. But I am resolving this year to get my taxes filed before April 16 (we get an extra day this year since the 15th falls on a Sunday, so that will help). If I discover the hubby and I owe, I might not send the forms in until the last day, but at least I'll know the damage or reward well beforehand.

I'm already far ahead of where I was this time last year. I loaded my tax software on the computer last week, so when the tax statements start arriving, I can enter the info right away. Then, when it's time to file, I'll decide whether to hit "send" or "print."

Speak up! And that brings me to the latest poll here on the ol' blog. Over there to your right, you'll see we're asking whether you plan to e-file.

Now some of you are saying, "Duh! What answer do you really expect from blog readers, folks who are already technologically connected?"

My response: The answer ain't necessarily what you'd think. True, I plan to fill out my return with the software, but if I owe, I'll print and spend only 39 cents (maybe 78 pennies if we have a lot of forms) to get it and my check to the IRS on time.

If, however, the hubby and I are getting back some tax cash, then I might consider the $10 to $15 e-filing fee (we don't qualify for Free File this year) an acceptable trade for getting back much more, much sooner.

I'm not alone in this approach. Even the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, the person charged with making sure the IRS treats all filers fairly (and the ultimate boss of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel of which I'm now a member), did the same thing a couple of years ago.

So take a few minutes to think about tax filing on this bright new year's day and then take the poll.

And that's enough taxes for today. The Outback Bowl is already underway. Five more -- Cotton, Capital One, Gator, Rose and Fiesta (and yes, I pointedly omitted the corporate sponsors where another, familiar and traditional bowl name still applies) -- follow.

For the rest of Jan. 1, 2007, you'll find me in my recliner in front of our TV. Happy New Year!

Comments

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Kay

Trish, good point. You (we) do want to make sure that the IRS gets our returns when we owe so that we don't face added penalty/interest costs (as well as the error issue). It still irks me, though, to add even that relatively little amount of an e-file fee onto the process. I'm hoping that the Taxpayer Advocate and consumer groups will soon be successful in getting that cost removed or at least paid for by Uncle Sam for every filer. Just on principle. I don't mind paying for tax help, but just to deliver something ... c'mon! Everybody gripes every time a stamp goes up a few cents, but that's tiny because of the federal subsidy. Seems like we could get the same help at tax time, too. Write your Congressman/woman and Senator!

Trish

Kay - it is when you owe that you really should e-file your return. You can easily send the money in with the voucher (1040-V) that is part of your tax packet. Why e-file a balance due return? 1. Unless you send it some way that can be tracked, you have no way of proving the return was received. If the orginal return get lost in the mail or at the IRS and you have to re-file you will be hit with interest and penalties based on the balance due. It does not count that 27 people saw you mail it, unless you have receipt documentation you pay the extra. 2. If the IRS has to data enter your return, it is much more likely to end up with an error than if you e-file. (Minimum wage data entry)Generally, these are caught in the processing but I have had clients that had to send a copy of the orginal return to prove that what the IRS has on file is not what was submitted. Believe me it is just as hard to get the IRS to take back an incorrect refund as to get an incorrect balance due taken away.
Yes, e-filing will get your refund back faster but balance due return have even more need to be e-filed.

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