A taxing time of year
Appeal Staff Writer
For 11 straight weeks, Ernie Mayhorn sees clients for 13 hours a day. His next available appointment is a week out.
“I come in around 6 a.m. to open the office and open the e-files,” Mayhorn said last week, out of breath during a client meeting. “Ninety percent of our clients walk out with tax returns completely finished.”
Tax preparers are in demand leading up to April 17, the due date for income-tax returns. With W-2 and other important documents in hand, taxpayers will sit before agents to sort out their finances, or enter it all into a computer.
Misty Poehlman, a hairdresser at Hollywood Beauty in North Douglas County, said she prefers taking an afternoon to speak to an agent and leave knowing where everything is at.
“I’m happy. I’m getting back $3,000,” said the 46-year-old Carson City woman. “I’ll probably pay some bills.”
Others will visit the IRS Web site to access Free File, but there are some changes this year.
How do I pay my taxes electronically without being charged a fee?
The IRS partners with private-sector tax services to offer Free File, which is the free tax preparation and electronic filing for most taxpayers. More than 70 percent of taxpayers – those with an adjusted gross income of $52,000 or less – qualify for Free File this year. Each company that partners with the IRS has its own criteria. Some offer Free File to those with a larger income, but it varies by state. You have to check out each company.
For example, the TurboTax Freedom Edition is offered to those who have an income less than $28,500, or who are eligible to receive the Earned Income Credit, or active-duty military with an income less than $52,000.
Taxpayers who qualify for Free File do not have to purchase any product in order to qualify, but you must access it through the IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov. By going directly to a company’s Web site, you may not get the free service.
Other changes you should know about
• Telephone excise tax credit
The Telephone Excise Tax Refund is a one-time payment available on your 2006 federal income tax return. It is designed to refund previously collected long-distance telephone taxes. Individuals, businesses and tax-exempt organizations are eligible.
• Split refunds
Split your refund with direct deposits into two or three checking or savings accounts, after filing form 8888. This gives the taxpayer quick access to the refund for immediate use or savings.
• For students – tuition and fee deductions
Up to $4,000 may be deducted for higher-education expenses. The amount that can be deducted is based on income level.
• For Teachers – Classroom Supply Expense Deductions
Teachers who purchase classroom supplies and are not reimbursed by the school can deduct up to $250 as an adjustment to income through tax year 2007.
• The April 17 deadline
Taxpayers will have extra time to file and pay because April 15 falls on a Sunday. The following day is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia.
Free tax assistance is available at
• The Carson City Senior Center, 911 Beverly Dr., 12:30- 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. To make an appointment call 883-0703. More complicated tax returns, such as business returns, cannot be done.
• Friends in Service Helping, 138 E. Long St., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. To make an appointment call 882-8448. More complicated tax returns, such as business returns, cannot be done.
• Also visit IRS.gov or call 211 for income tax preparation sites.
– Sources: IRS, Jackson Hewitt
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.