2011 Individual Federal Tax Return Preparation Guide

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2011 Individual Federal Tax Return Preparation Guide Powered By Docstoc
					Important Deadlines: ..................................................................................................................................... 3

What is my filing status?............................................................................................................................... 4

   Single: ....................................................................................................................................................... 4

   Married: .................................................................................................................................................... 4

   Married and Filing Separately: ................................................................................................................. 5

   Qualifying Widow/Widower with Dependent: ......................................................................................... 5

   Head of Household: .................................................................................................................................. 5

Which tax return form do I use? ................................................................................................................... 5

How do I complete Tax Form 1040? ............................................................................................................ 5

   How do I complete Form 1040-A? ........................................................................................................... 6

   How do I complete Form 1040-EZ? ......................................................................................................... 6

What Can I deduct?....................................................................................................................................... 6

   Dependents:............................................................................................................................................... 6

   Tuition and Student Loan Expenses: ........................................................................................................ 7

   Homeowner Credits: ................................................................................................................................. 7

       Energy Credits: ..................................................................................................................................... 7

       Mortgage: .............................................................................................................................................. 7

       Real Estate Taxes: ................................................................................................................................. 7

       Disaster repairs: .................................................................................................................................... 7

       First Time Homebuyer Credit: .............................................................................................................. 8

       Making Work Pay Credit: ..................................................................................................................... 8

   Unemployment: ........................................................................................................................................ 8

Should I e-file or use the traditional paper filing method? ........................................................................... 8

   Tips for Filing a Paper Return................................................................................................................... 9

What to do if I owe money, or if I am owed money? ................................................................................... 9




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What if I can’t file my tax return by April 17, 2012? ................................................................................... 9

Getting ready for next year! ........................................................................................................................ 10




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               2012 Individual Federal Tax Return Preparation Guide
Once you have determined you are required to file an annual federal tax return, there are several
important considerations which will be discussed in this guide. These include calendaring of
important deadlines, a determination of which filing status to claim and tax form to file, and
whether or not you wish to file a paper form or an electronic copy of the form. Additionally,
before beginning to prepare your tax return, you should have all necessary paperwork on hand, to
ensure a more streamlined process. These forms include your W-2s, 1099s, social security
numbers of all dependents, and any receipts or forms for deductions you may be claiming,
including any charitable deductions or medical expenses.

The IRS is working hard to make it even easier for taxpayers to prepare their taxes in a timely
and efficient manner, and answer taxpayer questions in a variety of social media. The 2012 tax
season has brought the newest electronic update, with the introduction of IRS2Go, which is a
free smartphone application which can be downloaded by taxpayers, and may be utilized to
subscribe to tax tips and update the status of taxpayer’s refunds. The IRS may also be found on
Youtube and Twitter (@IRSnews) for additional tax tips. Every year, the IRS updates its forms
and guides, to provide taxpayers with the most up to date information on available (and expired)
exemptions, claims and deductions, and taxpayers would be wise to consult these documents to
ensure they are taking all the applicable deductions, exemptions and claims available to them.

The scope of this informational guide cannot possibly touch on every exemption, possible
deduction or situation. Nor should it be used as an instructional guide on how to file your taxes.
It is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide tax or legal advice.
If you find yourself in a situation not addressed in this guide, or if you have questions related to
your specific tax filing needs, consult the IRS website or an experienced tax professional.

Important Deadlines:

When preparing to file your annual federal tax return, it is important to plan ahead so that you
are prepared to file your return or an extension request in a timely manner. The first step in your
preparation should be to identify and calendar all of the important and required filing dates and
deadlines. Below is a list of important filing deadline dates that you should be aware of. This
list is not all-inclusive and you should take the time to identify any other dates and deadlines that
may apply in your unique situation to assure full and timely compliance. Please note, the
following deadlines apply ONLY to individual federal tax return filings. Individual filers are
urged to consult the IRS website or a tax professional to ensure they understand all applicable
filing dates, as some exceptions to the dates noted below may apply depending on your particular
situation. The IRS website can be accessed at www.irs.gov.

Persons filing corporate or any other tax returns should consult IRS Publication 509 (2012) for
applicable filing deadlines. This document can be accessed at the IRS website
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p509/index.html.

     January 17, 2012 – First day you are able to e-file your individual tax returns




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     January 31, 2012 – Last day for employers to mail W-2s and for businesses to provide
      1099 (other than 1099-B and 1099-S statements)

     February 15, 2012 – Last day for financial institutions to furnish 1099-B and 1099-S
      statements.

     April 17, 2012 – Deadline to file for any of the following: individual federal tax return
      (Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ); automatic 6-month extension; last opportunity to file
      an original or amended 2008 tax return and receive any refund owed. It is also Taxpayers
      are advised, however, that the deadline to file th
				
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Description: This attorney drafted guide sets forth notable dates and a helpful guide to preparing your 2011 individual federal tax returns.
This document is also part of a package 2011 Personal Income Tax Preparation Kit 14 Documents Included