Taxes and divorce

Taxes and Divorce: Things to Consider if Newly Single and Doing Your Taxes

By JASON RICH
Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff added, “The IRS will work to make this tax season as smooth as possible for taxpayers. We strongly encourage taxpayers to file electronically, particularly those affected by late tax law changes. Filing electronically makes things easier by reducing errors and speeding up refunds. In January 2008, the IRS is sending 16.5 million 1040 tax packages to taxpayers this month who have filed paper tax returns in the past. The number of paper packages has dropped rapidly in recent years, falling from 34 million packages in just four years. The paper packages are becoming much less common as the popularity of electronic filing soars. Last year, nearly 80 million tax returns used e-file, representing about 57 percent of all returns.”

DETERMINING WHAT HELP YOU NEED              

The amount of help you want and need completing and filing your tax returns will depend on several things, including your personal financial situation, your level of knowledge relating to financial and tax issues, your willingness to invest the time necessary to complete your own tax returns, and your confidence in being able to complete the tax forms correctly.            

If you opt to seek out help, you now must decide if a tax preparation specialist or a CPA is best suited to assist you. For most people, a trained and experienced tax preparation specialist, like those employed at H&R Block, Liberty Tax or Jackson Hewitt Tax Service retail locations, for example, are more than qualified to assist you in completing and filing your tax returns.            

The fees you pay a tax preparation specialist will be determine by what tax returns they help you complete and what forms actually need to be filed. How you opt to receive your tax refund will also impact your cost.

H&R Block and other well-known tax preparation services with retail locations nationwide often distribute money saving coupons, which you should utilize to save you extra money. To save $15 on tax preparation help from Jackson Hewitt, visit www.jacksonhewitt.com/?Coupon15Off to download a free coupon. A $30 off coupon from H&R Block can be downloaded from www.mommysavesbig.com/111hrblockcoupon.gif.            

Before your appointment with a tax preparation specialist, make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork, financial records and tax-related information gathered and ready to present. This includes a photo ID (passport or driver’s license), copies of your tax returns from last year, your Social Security number, the Social Security numbers of your dependants, and W-2 and/or 1099 forms. Additional paperwork you’ll need includes:  

1. Details about your investments

2. Details about your real estate holdings, including mortgage information pertaining to your home that show interest and points paid, along with the real estate taxes that have been paid

3. Retirement plan information

4. Records of charitable donations

5. Information pertaining to other potential deductions, such as education expenses, vehicle and other property taxes you’ve paid, and a summary of your debts

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