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

What If I Forgot To Include Information On My Taxes?

Forgot Something On Your Tax Return?  Don't Worry!
Forgot Something On Your Tax Return? Don’t Worry!

So, you worked hours on your tax return, gathered your documents, filed on time and you are now awaiting your tax refund with eager anticipation. All is well until that moment of mild terror when you realize you forgot to include a vital document or deduction on your taxes. Don’t panic: all is not lost. There are ways to include missed information on your taxes, even if you’ve already filed them.

File an Amended Tax Return

When you’ve omitted information on your return, the IRS allows you to file an Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return called Form 1040X. However, you can’t e-file amended returns; they’ll have to be submitted it in paper form which increases the wait time by many weeks for any potential additional refunds.

Reasons to File

There are lots of reasons you might need to file an amended tax return, but there are some things that don’t necessitate one. You’ll need to file a 1040X form if you have experienced a change in your filing status, income, credits or deductions. But you do not have to file if you caught a math error after the fact. The IRS is pretty good about catching these types of mistakes and usually adjust these automatically for you. For example, If you forgot to attach the proper tax forms and a W2 is missing,  there’s no need to file this amended form. You should get a request from the IRS requesting any missing items. The IRS can easily find income that you may have omitted from your tax return, but sometimes it can take a very long time for the IRS to notify you.  That means if you made an error where you underpaid your taxes in some manner, you will accrue penalties and interest until your tax liability is paid in full.  It could pay for you to file an amended return to minimize penalties & interests.  On the other hand,  the IRS isn’t as well-equipped for finding missing credits or deductions that you may have overlooked, and which could increase your refund.  In this case, don’t wait until you get a letter from the IRS looking for more information. Instead, be proactive and file the amended return.  After all it’s your money and the IRS does NOT have to pay you interest for holding onto your well deserved refunds.


You have three years from the original filing date to submit Form 1040X, or two years from the date of tax payment.   You’ll need to submit a separate 1040X form for each tax return you’re amending and mail them separately to the IRS. Also, don’t assume they are all being mailed to the same mailing address.  There are usually separate processing PO Boxes for each tax year you are amending.  If you plan on claiming more of a refund, you must wait until you get your original refund in the mail or via direct deposit before filing the 1040X. Again, keep in mind that amended refunds take awhile to process, so it could take up to 12 weeks before you receive anything. If you owe more taxes as a result of the amended return, pay what you owe right away to avoid fees and penalties from piling up, as the IRS will begin charging you based on the due date of your original tax return.

Track Your Status

Similar to tracking your original refund status, the IRS has a Where’s My Amended Return? tool (you can also check R&G Brenner’s Where’s My Refund page as we include State Refund links as well) that you can use to track your amended return’s status. Alternatively, you can call the IRS at 866-464-2050. Have your taxpayer identification number or social security number handy, along with your date of birth and zip code.

If you forgot to include some vital information on your tax return, follow the steps above to make sure you pay all the right taxes and get your full refund.  Or, simply contact an experience R&G Brenner tax professional today, and we’d be happy to assist you.

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.

No Passport If You Owe IRS $50,000+?

IRS Could Revoke Your Passport

If he were in charge of travel, the Soup Nazi might say, “No Passport for you!” In real life, travel may seem unrelated to taxes, except perhaps for those annoying airport taxes on international destinations. But a bigger tax and travel connection could keep you at home—permanently.

A tax law quietly proposed a few months ago—Owe IRS Taxes, Lose Your Passport—is quietly gaining momentum. Now more people have noticed. If you owe the IRS? You’re Not Going Anywhere if this law passes. In America, we love to tinker with our tax laws. Congress is always introducing one bill or another to tweak an already bloated and increasingly dysfunctional tax system.

It’s curious how ingredients go into the sausage, often making strange legislative bedfellows. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) proposed that if you owe the IRS more then $50,000, you shouldn’t get a passport. See Hatch’s Memo to Reporters and Editors. Now this ‘we-need-the-money’ provision has morphed into Senate Bill 1813, introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). It was introduced in November and passed by the Senate on March 14 “to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”

At best, there seems a titular connection between this provision and highway safety. Nevertheless, the law would authorize the federal government to prevent Americans from leaving the country if they owe back taxes. It was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who proposed allowing the State Department to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS certifies as having “a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000.”

Does this apply in all cases? Mercifully no. You could travel if your tax debt is being paid in a timely manner or in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons.  But this isn’t limited to criminal tax cases or situations where the government fears someone is fleeing a tax debt.

In fact, if the bill is passed you could have your passport revoked merely because you owe say $60,000 and the IRS has filed a notice of lien. Bear in mind that the IRS files tax liens routinely when you owe taxes–it’s just the IRS way of putting creditors on notice so the IRS will eventually get paid…In that sense, this you-can’t-travel idea seems pretty extreme.

Some commentators note that a far smaller sum of unpaid child support can trigger the same kind of passport action. Why shouldn’t unpaid taxes, they argue?  Others attack the proposal as potentially unconstitutional.

Stay tuned as this proposed law is debated.

Source: Forbes