38 • The Monitor • March 16 2006 IRS offers ‘Free file’ program for filing taxes online STATEPOINT MEDIA refund anticipation loans must dis 4868 that allows f by ja2304

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									38 • The Monitor • March 16, 2006


IRS offers ‘Free file’ program for filing taxes online
STATEPOINT MEDIA                          refund anticipation loans must dis-          4868 that allows for automatic exten-      2004. Free File debuted in 2003 with
                                          close fees and interest rates upfront        sions of time to file.                     nearly 2.8 million users.
   If death and taxes are indeed
                                          and must make clear that RALS are               • Alliance members’ websites must          Taxpayers do not have to purchase
among the few certainties of life, most
                                          loans, not tax refunds. Taxpayers also       display whether state online tax prepa-    any product in order to qualify for the
people can at least take solace know-
                                          must consent to receive additional           ration and filing services are available   free services. For additional informa-
ing they qualify for the Internal
                                          information about ancillary financial        and associated fees, if any.               tion, visit the IRS’s website at
Revenue Service’s improved Free File
                                          products.                                       More than five million people used      www.irs.gov or call (800) 829-1040.
program. In fact, more than 70 percent
                                             • Alliance members must provide           Free File last year, almost a 47 percent
of the nation’s taxpayers - or about 92
                                          additional tax forms, such as Form           increase over the 3.5 million users in
million people - qualify for Free File
this year, according to the IRS.
   Moreover, a new agreement                                                              Another IRS tool is the                     That said, you need to explain
between the IRS and the Free File                                                      Unreported Income Discriminate             inconsistencies. If you adopted an
Alliance, a consortium of tax prepara-                                                 Information Function (or UI DIF)           older child who will suddenly appear
tion software companies, means                                                         score. This score rates the likelihood     on your list of dependents, include
enhanced services and more informa-                                                    of there being unreported income,          that information.
tion for those who use the free servic-                                                generally from all-cash businesses.            It’s the simple things, however,
es, which can be accessed through the                                                     Things that can possibly trigger an     that will go a long way in helping to
IRS’s website at www.irs.gov.                                                          audit are high medical deductions,         avoid an audit.
                                                   Inconsistencies                     casualty losses, charitable contribu-          Prepare a neat return, preferably
   “This unique private-public part-
nership provides free tax software and            trigger IRS audits                   tions, the home-office deduction,          one that has been done by a comput-
free electronic filing,” said IRS                                                      self-employment in an all-cash busi-       er program or, better yet, a tax pre-
Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “It’s           The percentage of taxpayers who          ness and returns that just don’t pass      parer.
targeted to middle- and low-income         are audited is very small, but no one       the sniff test. For example, if you are        Check your math, and sign and
taxpayers who can most benefit from        wants to be part of that elite group.       self-employed and claim a small            date the return.
this program.”                                One tool the Internal Revenue            income, yet your 1098 shows you’re             Don’t file too early or too late, as
   Among the services and improve-         Service uses to select returns for          paying the mortgage on a $750,000          it’s thought that taxpayers who file on
ments this year:                           audit is the DIF, that is, the              house, a red flag goes up.                 the first day or days late are likely to
   • The three million taxpayers who       Discriminate Information Function              However, if your deductions are         have math errors.
used to file their income tax return       score. The DIF is a secret formula the      genuine, take them. Don’t fear telling         For tax forms and publications,
through TeleFile, an option no longer      IRS uses to assign a score to each          the truth, but don’t leave anything        call 1-800-829-3676. To get forms
available, automatically qualify for       return. The higher the score, the more      out.                                       online, go to www.irs.gov/form-
Free File this year.                       likely it is that you’ll be audited. It’s      If you received a W-2 or a 1099 for     spubs/ index.html
   • Seventy percent of the nation’s       thought that the calculation is based       work over $600, the IRS also has that          Write to David Uffington in care
taxpayers - those with an adjusted         on commonalities with prior audits          information. If you received alimony,      of King Features Weekly Service,
gross income of $50,000 or less - are      that resulted in additional taxes           report it because the IRS has that too.    P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL
eligible, but each Alliance member         owed. On any return, the more you           Same with your savings-account             32853-6475 or send e-mail to let-
sets its own criteria.                     deviate from average, the more likely       interest you received or mortgage          ters.kfws@ hearstsc.com.
   • Alliance members who offer            you are to be audited.                      interest you paid: The IRS knows.            (c) 2006 King Features Synd., Inc.




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