Tonawanda News

Business

January 17, 2010

TAXES: With filing season here, some things have changed

January usually means three things: A new year, the holidays are over and the tax season is beginning.

Taxpayers all over the country are getting their personal and tax information together for the income tax filing season. As in most years, income taxes are due by April 15; and while there are hundreds of changes in the U.S. tax code, there are only a handful the everyday person should be aware of. But most go unnoticed, even though it could mean more money for the taxpayer.

To get started, get information together, including W-2 forms employees will receive at the end of the month, says Kathy Warblow of Jackson Hewitt in Tonawanda. Other forms include a 1099 for retirements and a 1099B for stock sales. Also, tax preparers recommend bringing last year’s return.

“They should be taking a look at their own situation,” Warblow said. “Gathering everything up. We can guide them to what they need.”

Valarie Kruse of AAA Tax Service in the Town of Lockport said that while W-2 forms usually are mailed out by the end of the month, some employers have them available online. But all W-2 forms must be mailed out by Feb. 1.

“Then you need to look at any deductions you want to take,” Kruse said.

One of the most important changes is the first time homebuyer credit, which was extended to June. According to H&R; Block, first homebuyers can receive a tax credit of up to $8,000, and repeat homebuyers may be able to receive a credit of up to $6,000. Repeat homebuyers must have lived in their current home for five of the past eight years.

“The big catch is you can’t buy a house from a relative,” Kruse said. “And you must have entered into a contract by April 30 and will close by June 30.”

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