Tax time will soon be upon us. This is a time when pinching pennies becomes extra important. I don’t mind paying my share of taxes, but I don’t want to pay more than is due. To avoid paying more than your share, take care to properly file your tax return before that looming April 15 deadline.
Tax deductions must be backed up by paperwork and receipts. Keeping up with these papers can sometimes be a challenge. Even if your record keeping is less than stellar during the past year, now is the time to set up a system to help with your taxes for next year. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Use a file folder that you drop in everything that is related to taxes during the year. In my case, I put everything on a certain shelf in the cabinet. Then, when the time comes to do my taxes, all the receipts are in one place.
If your taxes are relatively simple, you may not need to pay someone to complete your tax return. With the information we can access from the Internet, we can file our taxes with minimal to no filing fees. The Internal Revenue Service has partnered with several different income tax programs to provide free federal and tax filing software online. Just go to www.IRS.gov and select one of the programs for filing.
Or if you want to go direct to a website, try www.myfreetaxes.com. Filing is free for those who have incomes less than $60,000, with fees for those who make higher incomes.
If you file using a software program, don’t head to your local office supply store, instead search online and you should be able to find the same filing programs and save as much as $10 per package.
Some of us need a little more help and want someone else to help us out with filing. If you want a little more help from a real live person, we have great volunteers here in the Fairbanks area who are trained through IRS programs to complete tax returns. They are ready and willing to help you out.
The Tax-Aide program is helping people prepare their tax returns at the Noel Wien Library Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. In addition, the volunteers work directly with seniors at the Fairbanks Senior Center Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment. Call 452-1735 to set up a time.
The Great Alaskan Accounting People (GAAP) from the UAF School of Management Accounting Department are also available to help complete returns. They will be working with taxpayers on selected Saturdays (Feb. 14, March 28, April 4 and April 11) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bunnell Building on the UAF campus.
No matter how you choose to file, make sure you have all your records in order to correctly complete the returns. The tax man cometh — get ready.
Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at email@example.com or by calling 907-474-7201.