“Real World” Personal Strategy Blog
May Flowers Are Blooming!
April 28, 2009 by Roger Menden, Shakopee Tax Professional
“An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.”
– Washington Irving
The dust is truly beginning to settle around here (ok, maybe that’s just pollen).
Regardless, we’re beginning the process of serving you during the “off season”, and evaluating how things went. To that end, if you’re one of the many good folks we helped this season, then–THANK YOU for trusting us with your finances this year. We know how personal it is to you!
Speaking of tax returns (and personal details)…how would you like to see former President George W. Bush’s *actual* tax return from 1997? It’s been obtained by CNN, and is available here: http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/interactive/allpolitics/0804/bush.cheney.taxes/bush.pdf
(I like that he and Laura seemed to be very generous with their charitable contributions–which, if you’ve read my previous posts, you know is a big deal to me!)
On to this week’s Strategy Note. Last week, I wrote about Amended Returns, and how most folks had no idea how much we could improve their return–EVEN if they’d already filed it with somebody else.
This week, will be one of my final “tax-related” items for a while. It’s all about the question…
“Real World” Personal Strategy
It’s a familiar feeling.
Relief. Exhilaration (or frustration at having to pay *more* taxes!). Gratitude for a job well done by your preparer.
Unless you’ve filed for an Extension, however you feel about your tax return…chances are, it’s done.
But, even now, we do get some questions. So, I thought I would answer some of the basic ones for you. If you have any additional questions, feel free to give us a call or send us an email.
We’re here for you!
1. “When will I get my refund?”
Well, the IRS does seem to have entered the 21st century.
If you had us “e-file” your return, you can check your status right now, or if you had us mail a paper return, after about 3 to 4 weeks.
When you’re checking with the following options, make sure you have a copy of your tax return on hand or know your “filing status”, SSN and the exact dollar amount of the anticipated refund.
- Online: Go to IRS.gov and click on Where’s My Refund. (http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html?portlet=4)
- Automated Phone: Call 1-800-829-4477 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for automated refund information.
- In-Person Phone: Call 1-800-829-1954 during normal business hours.
2. “Do I need to keep a copy of my return?”
Yes, for a *minimum* of three years. There’s all kinds of contexts where it’s useful. We do keep one on file, on your behalf, but it’s just smart and safe for you to keep one in a secure place at home. (I’ve already written a previous post here on the site about Amended Returns; give that a read for more info.)
As for the supporting documents from your return, anything that relates to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, retirement, business or rental property, should be kept much longer than the three years.
3. “I think there’s a mistake in my return. What should I do?”
Sometimes, you’ll find a receipt or a documentation after April 15th which really would have changed your prior year tax return. That’s, again, when you would have us file an “Amended Return”. Here are some other, common reasons to Amend…
- You neglected to report some income earned.
- You claimed deductions or credits you should not have claimed.
- You did not claim deductions or credits you could have claimed.
- You filed under one filing status, but you should have filed under another.
- You bought a residence and didn’t claim the First Time Homebuyers Credit.
You might have other questions, which I haven’t addressed here. Give us a call!
To more of your money in your wallet!