H&R Block Answers Six Essential Tax Questions for First-Time Filers

More than 5 million taxpayers will file their own individual tax return for the first time this tax season and they may not know where to start.

Generally, anyone earning income should consider filing a return. However, filing requirements depend on a combination of circumstances, including filing status, income and age. Workers who are not required to file a tax return because their income is below their filing threshold should file a return to get a refund of all taxes withheld and/or to claim other tax benefits.

Form W-4 is completed by the employee and is used by the employer to determine how much income tax is withheld from paychecks to cover tax liability.

Form W-2 is prepared by employers at the end of the year and reports wages paid and taxes withheld for the year so employees can use the information to file their tax returns. Employers mail Form W-2 in late January and some provide them online. W-2 information also is sent to the IRS and the Social Security Administration.

There are three versions of Form 1040: 1040EZ, 1040A and Form 1040. Form 1040EZ is for the least complex individual tax situations and Form 1040 is for the most complex.

The deadline for filing federal individual tax returns is typically April 15. This is also the deadline to request an automatic six-month extension to file, generally allowing taxpayers until Oct. 15 to submit a return without a late-filing penalty. To avoid late payment penalties and interest, any taxes owed must be paid by the April deadline.

Do it-yourself software and online tax programs select the appropriate forms and use everyday language, making tax law easier to understand. However, the assistance from a qualified tax professional can help put taxpayers of all income levels at ease and does not require any understanding of taxes. Ultimately, it is the taxpayer’s comfort level and personal preference that determine the best method

For information about assistance preparing your taxes, contact Mayra Bryan, Tax Specialist 3 and Registered Tax Return Preparer. H&R Block office is located at 19151 S. Dixie Highway, Cutler Ridge. Call 305-238-8980 or visit www.hrblock.com.

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