2015 Taxes Due Today! Last Minute Filers Guide

Tick-Tock, The Deadline Approaches
Tick-Tock, The Deadline Approaches

Tax day is here! And all taxpayers who waited to the last minute are having some form of panic attacks.  But don’t worry!  You are not going to jail if you don’t file your taxes on time, so take a deep breath, and here is your definitive guide to last minute tax filing:

The Deadline Is April 18th:  Due to special holidays, 2015 taxes are due April 18th this year.  So if you’ve already  resigned into thinking you missed the deadline you’re in luck!  Get your stuff together and head to an R&G Brenner location near you before it’s too late!

Not Ready?  File An Extension: If you are still scrambling to amass your documentation, expenses & deductions, don’t sweat and file an extension.  An extension will allow you more time to get your stuff together (or more time to procrastinate).  Either way, you’ll save money in unnecessary penalties and late filing fees.  However, be aware that filing for an extension to file your tax return is not an extension to pay your taxes due; you must send a rough estimate of what you think you will owe to the taxing authorities.  If you are unsure, overestimate; you will get an overpayment refund when you file your final tax return.  If you underestimate, you will be subject to interest charges on the amount you underpaid.  Even if you can’t pay your full amount of taxes due, send something even if it’s just $20.  This will prevent penalties and the taxing authorities will offer to put you on a payment plan.

Deadline & Extensions Are Only For Taxpayers who OWE:  This is the most common mistake that taxpayers make.  If you are due a refund, you have 3 years to file your tax return to claim that refund.   No extensions are necessary.  The deadline & extensions are only if you owe taxes and cannot file your final tax return by the deadline.  So if you are getting a refund, next year don’t scramble to file by the deadline.  You can simply wait one day after the deadline and you should be able to get an appointment of your choice and be able to sit with a tax professional pressure-free.  Just remember: If you do not file for a refund before the statute of limitations runs out (3 years), you refund(s) become the property of the US Government and/0r Taxing State.  That’s your money!  Don’t give it away.

Plan For Next Year: It’s hard to change one’s habits.  But technology is making it easier.  Almost everyone has a smart phone.  If you are in a cab, or taking a client to dinner, it is very easy to simply snap a photo of the receipts with your phone.  Same thing for when you get your income statements of K1’s. Keep all those photos in a folder and when it comes time doing your taxes—either by yourself or with a tax professional—you will have all the heavy lifting done already.  This will save you time and stress.

While most R&G Brenner professionals are fully booked in this late hour, many offices are keeping extended hours in anticipation of a rush of last minute filers.  If you can’t get an appointment with an R&G Brenner Tax Professional, just walk in and if you can’t meet with a tax pro on your schedule, just drop off your papers and we file them as soon as possible.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us toll free at (888) APRIL-15.  Happy Tax day and rememeber: “Saving you time and money is what we are all about”.

Benjamin K. Brenner

5 Quick Tips for First-Time Tax Filers

Tips For First Time Filers
Tips For First Time Filers

Taxes may be one of the only certain things in life, but that doesn’t mean that filing them is easy. This is especially true if you are a young adult filing your first tax return. If you are single and earned an income greater than $10,000 in 2014, you are required to file a federal return. If it’s your first time filing taxes, you might be a little overwhelmed, but never fear. Here are 5 quick tips to help you file your taxes for the first time.

Create a Folder to Collect Your Tax Documentation

Every employer you worked for in 2014 should have sent you a W-2 wage statement, postmarked no later than January 31, 2015. This includes part-time, full-time, and temporary jobs, no matter how few hours you worked for the company. If you didn’t receive a W-2 by early February, contact your employer to make sure it wasn’t sent to the wrong address. For any work you completed as an independent contractor, you should have received a 1099 miscellaneous income statement. Make a habit of collecting all your pay stubs, earnings statements and other financial paperwork in one folder so that you’ll have everything you need come tax time.

Special Rules for Dependent College Students

Things can get slightly complicated when you earn enough money to file a return while still receiving more than half of your financial support from your parents. If they plan to claim you as a dependent, IRS rules don’t allow you to claim a personal exemption on your own tax return. In most cases, it makes financial sense for your parents to take the tax exemption, since they likely owe more in taxes than you do. However, you or they can speak to a tax accountant if you’re uncertain.

Make it Easier on Yourself; File Electronically With Direct Deposit

The IRS & most states currently require that you file your tax return electronically.  However, many tax filers still elect to receive their refunds by being sent a check as opposed to depositing it directly into their bank account.  Choosing a direct deposit shaves weeks off the time it takes to receive your refund.  In order to file electronically, you will need to use tax software or hire a tax professional.  The benefit of using software/tax professionals is that they find math errors and deductions you may have missed. Common deductions that new taxpayers overlook include charitable donations, job search expenses, and state and local sales tax paid. If you have children yourself or you’re filing as head of household, you qualify for even more tax credits.

Choose the Simplest Form Possible

If you are single, don’t own a home, have no dependents, and earn less than $100,000 a year, filing your return on the 1040EZ form makes your life a whole lot easier. If you choose to use tax software, the program should suggest this after completing its initial interview with you. You’re more likely to find free tax preparation programs when you file using the 1040EZ form.

Get Your Taxes Done on Time

Your federal and state tax forms for 2014 must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 15, 2015 to avoid paying a late penalty. If you have legitimate reasons for not getting your returns in by that date, you may be able to request an extension. It’s also important not to be in such a hurry to get this chore done that you speed through it and make costly mistakes. This is a common mistake for first-time filers, especially those who are expecting a refund.

If it’s your first time filing taxes, take your time, plan ahead, and consider using tax software to make your life easier. Remember: it’s always a good idea to ask a tax professional if you’re not sure about something. Good luck!

What Are the Next Steps If I Missed the April 15th Deadline?

Did You Miss The Deadline?
Did You Miss The Deadline?

Tax season is always a stressful time of the year.  Regardless if someone files themselves or hires a professional, nobody relishes the thought of having to file their taxes. Most people manage to get their taxes filed before the deadline, but there are always some who cannot get their taxes filed on time and don’t file an extension. 

The April 15th deadline for filing taxes for the 2013 tax year has passed. This sounds serious, but don’t panic. While you may incur some penalties for failing to file on time, acting quickly can help ensure that they won’t be too severe. If you have extenuating circumstances that prevented you from filing your taxes on time, you may even be able to get your penalties abated. Here’s what you need to know for filing your taxes after the deadline:

Your Refund Will Be Unaffected

If you are getting a refund, don’t worry, it will be perfectly safe. Unclaimed refunds can only be forfeited after three years, but the IRS won’t impose any penalties on your refund if you file late. The worst that can happen is that you will receive a refund later than you would have if you had made the deadline, and the IRS does not pay interest.  There is nothing gained from having the IRS hold onto your refund, so if you are due a refund, file a tax return as soon as possible.

Penalties for Filing and Paying Late

The penalty for filing your taxes after the deadline is five percent of the unpaid tax bill for every month your tax return is late. These fines and penalties will not exceed 25 percent of your total bill, however. The penalty for failing to pay any taxes that you may owe is one-half of one percent of the unpaid balance.

If you owe taxes that you cannot pay, you should still file as soon as possible, and set up a payment plan to pay off what you owe in installments to minimize penalties. You can also pay a partial amount when you file to lower the balance—it’s a good idea to pay as much as you can. The important thing is that you make an effort and do your best to stick to any payment plan that you set up. Keep in mind that you will most likely need to fill out additional paperwork if you owe more than $50,000 and wish to pay in installments. The IRS will want to see financial statements to ensure that your payment plan is realistic.

Filing an Extension

While it is too late now to request an extension, for future reference you can receive a six-month extension of the tax deadline by filling out Form 4868. This will give you more time to file your taxes, but it won’t give you more time to pay any taxes that you may still owe. Still, it can help you avoid any penalties that come from filing late.

Whatever you do, you should never decide not to file or pay your taxes. You might be afraid of the penalties that come from missing the April 15 deadline, but the penalties for not filing at all are much worse. The most important thing is that you file, even if you file much later than the deadline. Your chances of getting into real legal or financial trouble become much greater the longer you wait to pay what you owe to the IRS.

IRS: $760 Million In Unclaimed Refunds

Don't Lose Your Money To The IRS!
Don’t Lose Your Money To The IRS!

The IRS currently has over $760 Million in unclaimed refunds from tax year 2010, and the clock is running out for taxpayers to claim them.   Any rightful refunds from 2010 not claimed by April 15, 2014 will become the property of the US Government.  The majority of these refunds are in excess of $571 each. 

“The window is quickly closing for people who are owed refunds from 2010 who haven’t filed a tax return,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “We encourage students, part-time workers and others who haven’t filed for 2010 to look into this before time runs out on April 15.”

Most of these unclaimed refunds are from students, part-time workers and the like who did not earn the minimum amount of income required to file a 2010 tax return.  However, taxes were indeed taken from their paychecks even though they were not required to file a tax return, and these taxpayers are entitled to a refund.

If you did not file a 2010 tax return, but were employed that year, contact an R&G Brenner Tax Professional to see if you are entitled to refund.  Why give the IRS your hard earned money?!  Below is breakdown for IRS refunds due to taxpayers by State.

State or District


Number of








































District of Columbia




















































































New Hampshire




New Jersey




New Mexico




New York




North Carolina




North Dakota




















Rhode Island




South Carolina




South Dakota




























West Virginia
















Source: Accountingtoday.com

Tax Filing Season Delayed Until January 31st

IRS Accepting Returns January 31st
IRS Accepting Returns January 31st

The IRS put everyone one notice not long after the end of the latest government shutdown that the 2014 tax filing season would be delayed by “1 or 2 weeks”.   Well not surprisingly, the IRS recently released that the first date that they will be accepting 2013 tax returns for processing will be January 31st:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced plans to open the 2014 filing season on Jan. 31…

The new opening date for individuals to file their 2013 tax returns will allow the IRS adequate time to program and test its tax processing systems. The annual process for updating IRS systems saw significant delays in October following the 16-day federal government closure.

“Our teams have been working hard throughout the fall to prepare for the upcoming tax season,” IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “The late January opening gives us enough time to get things right with our programming, testing and systems validation. It’s a complex process, and our bottom-line goal is to provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers.”

The government closure meant the IRS had to change the original opening date from Jan. 21 to Jan. 31, 2014. The 2014 date is one day later than the 2013 filing season opening, which started on Jan. 30, 2013, following January tax law changes made by Congress on Jan. 1 under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). The extensive set of ATRA tax changes affected many 2012 tax returns, which led to the late January opening.

The IRS noted that several options are available to help taxpayers prepare for the 2014 tax season and get their refunds as easily as possible. New year-end tax planning information has been added to IRS.gov this week.

In addition, many software companies are expected to begin accepting tax returns in January and hold those returns until the IRS systems open on Jan. 31. More details will be available in January.

The IRS cautioned that it will not process any tax returns before Jan. 31, so there is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date. Taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file…with the direct deposit option.

The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place. However, the IRS reminds taxpayers that anyone can request an automatic six-month extension to file their tax return. The request is easily done with Form 4868, which can be filed electronically or on paper.

IRS systems, applications and databases must be updated annually to reflect tax law updates, business process changes and programming updates in time for the start of the filing season.

The October closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year.

About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major work streams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. There are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.


The IRS is accepting 2013 Business Returns (Forms 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041, 720, 940, 941, 2290) for filing January 13th, 2014.

Source: IRS.gov

Last Minute Tax Tips

Tick-Tock, The Deadline Approaches
Tick-Tock, The Deadline Approaches

As the April 15th Deadline rapidly approaches, there are still hundreds of thousands of taxpayers expected to file the final week of the tax season.  The late start to the tax season and the fact that we are getting reports from clients that they still have not received all their tax documentation in order to file is making  this last minute crunch even more magnified.  Here are some last minuted tax-tips (even if you’ve filed already)

1) IRS E-mails: If you’ve received an email from the IRS relating to your refund or requesting taxpayer information, DON’T REPLY!  This is a common scam that thieves use to steal your identity.  Don’t even open the email if you can avoid doing so as some of these emails contain viruses or malware.  The IRS never initiates contact via E-mail.  If the IRS needs information from a taxpayer, they will send a formal notification via USPS mail on official letter head.  If you receive any suspicious communications you believe are scams via email, forward them to phishing@irs.gov.

2) April 15th Deadline: Many taxpayers don’t realize that the deadline for filing a tax return only applies to those that owe money to the government.  If you are due a refund the IRS allows you 4 years to file.  It is always best to file and receive your refund the year you are due it, as the IRS does not pay interest.  So, if you believe you are due a refund and you haven’t filed, have no fear, you’ve got plenty of time.  No need to wait on line to file before the deadline.  R&G Brenner has offices open after the tax season and throughout the year.  Even if you file a day after the deadline, you should have no wait time to see a professional.

3) Filing Extensions:  As stated above, if you are due a refund, you have 4 years to file your tax return and there is no need to file an extension.  However, if you believe you will owe the IRS/State(s) and have not received all of your tax documents or you are simply not ready to file, you should consider filing an extension.  Nevertheless, an extension for filing your tax return does not automatically grant you an extension to pay your taxes; the IRS still expects to be paid before the deadline.  If you cannot pay all that is due, simply send what you can.  The IRS will charge you interest on the balance due and you can set up a payment plan if you wish.  If you do not pay, not only with the IRS charge interest but also a late filing penalty.  The more money you owe, the steeper the penalty will be.  So, file on time, or file an extension.

4) File Yourself or Use A Tax Pro?:  The tax code is very complicated and littered with special credits & deductions.  Unless you are filing a very simple return, it is almost never a good idea to file your own taxes.  Simply put, even in this day and age, a computer questionnaire is not an adequate replacement for a professional.  Check out the True Cost of Doing Your Own Taxes.  On average, refunds using a Tax-Pro are $347-$841 HIGHER than Do-It-Yourself programs.  The time you save is just as valuable–if not more so–that the money you’d spend on a professional.

If you need help with any of the above, contact an R&G Brenner Tax Professional today, or call us toll free at (888) APRIL-15.

Important April 30th Deadline For NYS Businesses

April 30th Deadline

April 17 has come and gone, and New Yorkers have filed their returns, or at least filed for an extension. But for many New York businesses, April 30 is another key date.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is reminding businesses to file Form NYS-45Quarterly Combined Withholding, Wage Reporting, and Unemployment Insurance Return, by April 30, for the period running from Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year.

According to the instructions for the form:

  • Employers who are subject to both unemployment insurance contributions and withholding tax must complete Parts A, B, and C each quarter.
  • Employers subject only to unemployment insurance contributions must complete Part A and Part C, columns a, b, and c.
  • Employers subject only to withholding tax must complete Part B for each quarter and Part C, columns a, b, d, and e, on the final quarterly return filed for the calendar year.

The instructions note filing requirements may be waived for seasonal employers who make no wage payments for one or more quarters. However, there are very specific procedures to follow.As with most New York forms, electronic filing is encouraged, and certain wage reporting files must be uploaded electronically.

Contact an R&G Brenner tax professional today if your business needs assistance filing these forms.

Source: NYSSCPA.org