Monthly Archives: February 2013

How You Can Get Prior Year Tax Information from the IRS

From the IRS: The IRS offers several different ways to get tax return information or a copy of your own tax return for prior years. Here are options to help you get the information you need.

  • Tax Return Transcript.  This shows most line items from your tax return as originally filed, along with any forms and schedules from your return.  This transcript does not reflect any changes made to the return after you filed it. Tax return transcripts are free. After the IRS has processed a return, transcripts are available for the current tax year and the past three tax years.
  • Tax Account Transcript.  This shows any adjustments made by you or the IRS after filing your return. This transcript shows basic data, like marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income. Tax account transcripts are free, and are available after the IRS has processed the return for the current tax year and the past three tax years.
  • Order a Transcript.  You can request both transcript types online, by phone or by mail. To place your order online, go to IRS.gov and use the “Order a Transcript” tool. Order a transcript by phone at 800-908-9946. A recorded message will guide you through the process. You can also request your tax return transcript by mail by completing Form 4506T-EZ. Use Form 4506T to mail a request for your tax account transcript. You can get both forms online at IRS.gov.
  • Tax Return Copies.  Actual copies of your tax returns are generally available for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee for each copy you order is $57. To request a copy of your tax return, complete Form 4506, available on IRS.gov. Mail your request to the IRS office listed on the form for your area.
  • Delivery Times.  The turnaround time for online and phone orders is typically 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail using Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506T, and allow 60 days when ordering actual copies of your tax return by mail.
  • More Information.  The IRS website can help you decide which form you need. Visit IRS.gov, or call the IRS forms and publications order line at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

IRS Tax Help in Spanish

Tax Help ‘en Español’ from the IRS

Tax information can be tough to understand in any language. It may be more difficult to understand if it is not in your first language. The IRS offers a wide range of free and easy-to-use products and services for Spanish-speaking taxpayers. Here are some tips if you need federal tax assistance from the IRS in Spanish.

  • Get answers 24 hours a day seven days a week. IRS.gov/espanol has a wealth of information accessible every day for individuals and businesses. You will find links to tax-related information and warnings about common tax scams that can victimize taxpayers. You can also check the status of your tax refund through the improved online tool “¿Dónde está mi reembolso?” Using the Asistente EITC, you can find out if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit for many people who earned less than $50,270.
  • Use Free File to prepare and e-file your taxes for free. IRS Free File offers free tax preparation and e-file options for all taxpayers. The Free File program is a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance. The Alliance is a group of private-sector software companies. If your 2012 income was $57,000 or less, you qualify to use free tax software. If your income was higher, or you are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there’s Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms. Visit IRS.gov/freefile and select ‘En Español’ to review your options.
  • Try IRS e-file to file your return. IRS e-file is the safe, easy and most common way to file a tax return. The IRS has processed more than 1 billion returns safely and securely. If you owe taxes, you have payment options to file early and pay by the April 15 tax deadline. Visit IRS.gov/espanol and select Opciones Electrónicas to review your options.
  • Get up-to-date at the Multimedia Center. Watch YouTube video tax tips and listen to podcasts on various IRS topics in Spanish and English. Enter the keywords “Centro Multimediático” into the search box of the IRS.gov website.
  • TeleTax gives you tax and refund information. TeleTax is a toll-free, automated telephone service. It provides helpful pre-recorded tax topic messages and refund information. You can find a list of more than 125 TeleTax topics available in Spanish and English in the instructions for Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. When you call to check your refund status, have a copy of your tax return handy. This will help you respond to the system prompts. TeleTax is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-829-4477.
  • Get tax forms and publications. You can view and download several tax forms and publications in Spanish directly from IRS.gov/espanol at any hour of the day or night.
  • Visit the IRS Spanish Newsroom. Find the agency’s most recent announcements, tips and information on new tax laws that could affect you. Avoid missing any benefits and keep up to date by typing the keywords “Noticias en Espanol” into the search box of the IRS.gov website.
  • Call the IRS for free tax help in Spanish. The IRS’ toll-free telephone number offers service from Spanish-speaking IRS representatives. Call the IRS customer service line at 800-829-1040 and then press the number 8.
  • Stay connected through Twitter en Español. Get all the newest information and helpful tax tips in Spanish by following the IRS on Twitter @IRSenEspanol.

Get Multilingual Assistance at IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. Visitors can get help at IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers in more than 150 languages, including Spanish, either in person or through an Over-the-Phone Interpreter. Before you visit, it’s always a good idea to check TAC locations, hours and available services by visiting IRS.gov and clicking on ‘Help & Resources’ and then on ‘Contact Your Local IRS Office.

Eight Tax Benefits for Parents

 

The IRS just announced these eight tax benefits for parents:

 Your children may help you qualify for valuable tax benefits, such as certain credits and deductions. If you are a parent, here are eight benefits you shouldn’t miss when filing taxes this year.

1. Dependents. In most cases, you can claim a child as a dependent even if your child was born anytime in 2012.   For more information, see IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

2. Child Tax Credit. You may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit for each of your children that were under age 17 at the end of 2012. If you do not benefit from the full amount of the credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more information, see the instructions for Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, and Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

3. Child and Dependent Care Credit. You may be able to claim this credit if you paid someone to care for your child or children under age 13, so that you could work or look for work. See IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

4. Earned Income Tax Credit. If you worked but earned less than $50,270 last year, you may qualify for EITC. If you have qualifying children, you may get up to $5,891 dollars extra back when you file a return and claim it. Use the EITC Assistant to find out if you qualify. See Publication 596, Earned Income Tax Credit.

5. Adoption Credit. You may be able to take a tax credit for certain expenses you incurred to adopt a child. For details about this credit, see the instructions for IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.

6. Higher education credits. If you paid higher education costs for yourself or another student who is an immediate family member, you may qualify for either the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. Both credits may reduce the amount of tax you owe. If the American Opportunity Credit is more than the tax you owe, you could be eligible for a refund of up to $1,000. See IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

7. Student loan interest. You may be able to deduct interest you paid on a qualified student loan, even if you do not itemize your deductions. For more information, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

8. Self-employed health insurance deduction – If you were self-employed and paid for health insurance, you may be able to deduct premiums you paid to cover your child. It applies to children under age 27 at the end of the year, even if not your dependent. See IRS.gov/aca for information on the Affordable Care Act. 

Forms and publications on these topics are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).