Get your taxes done faster

Neal Kedzie
STATE SENATOR
11TH DISTRICT

By Neal Kedzie

STATE SENATOR

      Each year, tax time is met with either joy or pain, depending on whether you expect to get a refund or may have to pay more to the government. Regardless of the category you may find yourself in, tax season in Wisconsin has become less work for many filers.

      The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has an e-file program, which is free, secure, and accurate. E-file is an electronic filing program, which has fill-in tax forms that perform the math based on the information entered on each line of the tax form, thus preventing errors when preparing the return.

      The program is secure and confidential so your taxpayer information is protected. A confirmation is sent once your return is electronically submitted, and tax filers can get their refund directly deposited into a bank account in just days. Wisconsin e-file is always available at www.revenue.wi.gov so people can file any time during the tax season.

      Wisconsin e-file provides three options for receiving a refund: direct deposit to your checking account, direct deposit to your savings account, or a check mailed to the address on your return.  If you select one of the direct deposit options, your refund will be deposited within five business days from the date filed, in most cases.

      Obviously, a paper check refund does take longer.

      You can also use direct withdrawal if you need to pay taxes by electronically filing now and choosing a date to pay your taxes on or before April 15. You can also pay by credit card or check on or before April 15.

      If you need help preparing your taxes, visit a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site or a Tax Counseling for the Elderly site in your area. VITA and TCE sites have trained volunteers ready to help seniors, veterans, low-to-moderate income residents, and people with disabilities prepare their tax returns for free, or just answer any questions.  To find a VITA or a TCE site near you, visit the Internal Revenue Service’s Web site at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep.

      In addition, the DOR has a variety of helpful videos online at www.revenue.wi.gov.  There are both instructional and informational videos on the DOR website to assist tax filers with any questions they may have.

      While you are preparing your taxes, it is always a good idea to protect your identity. If you are using your computer to file or store your tax return, be sure it is protected with anti-virus, firewall and spy-ware software to protect against invasion. For the greatest protection, be sure to update those security programs on a regular basis. Also, be sure to protect your employment identity, as identity thieves sometimes use a person’s identity to obtain a job. They may be employed and using your Social Security Number – or your child’s Social Security Number.

      If your number is being used, you or your employer may receive notification from the IRS indicating that more than one person is using your number or that you owe back taxes.  If this happens, you will want to immediately contact the IRS Taxpayers Advocates toll-free line at (877) 777-4778.

      The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers experiencing economic harm, seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.

      You also may want to make a habit of comparing your W-2 wage earning statement with the Social Security Administration Statement you annually receive to be sure the amounts match exactly.  If the amounts do not match, it may indicate someone is working in your name or it can indicate an error in reporting. In either case, contact the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov to report any discrepancies.

      Further, watch out for tax time scams. If you receive an email asking for your Social Security Number or other personal information, delete it or forward it to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov for investigation. The IRS does not send emails asking for information or to inform you of anything.

      Likewise, banks do not request personal information by sending you an email or by calling you on the telephone. If you did not initiate the contact, do not give out your personal information. If you have questions about any correspondence you receive from the IRS, feel free to call the IRS Taxpayers Advocates at (877) 777-4778.

      Everyone understands that taxes are a necessary evil, but fortunately, things are turning around in Wisconsin. Not only did the Governor and Legislature balance the state budget and finally erase a multi-billion dollar deficit, Wisconsin is expected to have a $419 million surplus over the next biennium.

      In addition, plans are in motion to offer a middle class income tax break for Wisconsin citizens this session.  Perhaps not as large a tax cut as some would like, but certainly far better than a tax hike.  Hopefully, we can continue to provide more tax relief to more citizens over time, and make this time of year, less taxing for all.

      Senator Kedzie can be reached in Madison at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 or by calling toll-free (800) 578-1457.  He may be reached in the district at (262) 742-2025 or online at www.senatorkedzie.com.

 
 

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