Thursday, September 3, 2009

Filing Your Tax Return

We all work so hard for our money that the thought of parting ways often makes us restless, yet everyone knows that our government was designed to function with our tax paying dollars. Many of us out there feel as though the only thing you can count on is death and taxes. Often times we ask ourselves, "Would the government know if I didn't pay my taxes?" Yes, the Internal Revenue Department is adamant that we all do our part to keep the country economically viable. Ever heard of Al Capone? The FBI tried for years to convict him of his many heinous crimes. Who finally got him and trotted him off to jail where he died? Yes, the IRS tried him for income tax evasion and put him in prison. Finally, one of the most notorious criminals of the Twentieth Century went to jail because he didn't pay his taxes. Obviously, we all need to understand the basics of Income taxes or we can join all of those other criminals sitting in jail because they thought they could beat the IRS.

According to federal and most state laws, if you made some sort of an income last year, than you must file an income tax return. Income tax returns are required regardless if you had income tax withheld or not; while all businesses except partnerships must file an annual tax return. For the individual, when determining whether you must file or not, the IRS takes into account your income, filing status, and age.

We must understand that the requirement of filing an income tax return is not voluntary, rather mandatory and extremely important. The Internal Revenue Service has clearly stated out the requirements for filing in the following codes §§ 6011(a), 6012(a), et seq. If you fail to file an income tax return it is considered a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $10000 fine. While the penalty for filing a frivolous income tax return is only $500, the penalty.

Thanks to modern technologically we now have the option of filing our taxes faster than before. The fastest way for you to file is electronically or you may still prefer to file the old fashion way via the mail. Whether your return is complicated or easy, both these methods will work. The primary form for the income tax return is either the 1040 NR or 1040 NR-EZ. The average time to process an accurate tax return is between six and eight weeks. Your tax return is due on April 15th. If the income tax return is late (even one day), there is an automatic tax due of 25% of your tax return. If you know that you're going to be late, file an extension, taxpayers are granted an automatic six month extension for filing an individual income tax return.

Filing an e-turn can be very beneficial to you, especially if you are waiting to receive money back from the government. If you should choose to e-file your tax return you then have the option to use direct deposit, this allows you to receive your return in as little as 10 days. Even if you do not choose the direct deposit option, you will usually receive your tax refund in half the time by e-filing.

Keep in mind that one of the most important things when filing your federal or state tax return, if filing by mail, is remembering to sign it. In some cases you may need to get a hold of your previously filed tax return. You can obtain this information in a written request to the IRS.

It is extremely important to file an income tax return. There are several non-profit organizations with trained volunteers who provide basic income tax return preparation and free tax counseling for senior citizens. If you need help, contact the IRS or a tax service. Tax returns leave no room for mistake.

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