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Front Page » March 2, 2004 » Local News » Technology, filing options lower anxiety levels for feder...
Published 3,705 days ago

Technology, filing options lower anxiety levels for federal income taxpayers in Carbon County


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By MELANIE STEELE
Sun Advocate Reporter


Carbon County residents may access federal income tax forms and instruction guides by visiting the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov.

According to United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., taxes are the price Americans pay for a civilized society.

But whether it is due to the confusing extensively detailed forms or simply procrastination, many Carbon County residents still dread the approach of April 15.

Tax filing not longer has to cause anxiety, however. In recent years, technological advances have made tax season easier for residents.

From computer programs that organize any aspect of a person's finances to the ability to access all federal tax forms in existence on the U.S. Internal Revenue Service web site, residents can assure that the 2004 tax deadline is met with plenty of time to spare.

The Internal Revenue Service reports that the number of individuals turning to electronic filing is sharply on the rise. E-filers have already exceeded last year totals by 2 million and more than one month remains before the April 15 filing deadline.

In the e-mail paperless form, American tax filers are guided through the submission process by a computer program which even corrects math totals.

When all information has been entered, one button click will securely transfer the forms to the IRS. The federal agency will then confirm the submission has been received.

For people who prefer to hand federal taxes over to a professional preparer, there are a plethora of experienced options in the Carbon County area.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, filers can expect most return preparers to be professional, honest and provide excellent service.

However, the IRS recommends that taxpayers choose carefully when hiring someone to prepare their return, since taxpayers are legally responsible for everything on their tax returns.

The IRS recommends that Carbon County residents consider the following when selecting a tax preparer:

•Avoid preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds.

•Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of the amount of the refund.

•Ask questions and get references from clients who have used the tax professional before.

Use a reputable professional who signs tax returns and provides a copy for the client's records.

•Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions months or even years, after the return is filed.

Check credentials to determine whether the individual is an accredited tax preparer, enrolled agent, certified public accountant (CPA), licensed public accountant or tax attorney.

According to the federal agency, only attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters including audits, collection and appeals. Other preparers may only represent taxpayers during audits.

•Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization which provides members with continuing education and resources and maintains a code of ethics.

•Never sign a blank or completed form without reviewing the document and making sure the entries are understood. Tax evasion is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison along with a $250,000 fine.

Preparers suspected of tax fraud should be reported to the IRS at 1-800-829-0433.


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