Callers to DMN tax hotline focused on getting forms
By PAMELA YIP
It all came down to a simple question for some of the callers to The Dallas Morning News Tax Hotline on Sunday:
Where are my tax forms?
Because of changes to tax laws that came about in the fiscal cliff deal, the Internal Revenue Service said it will open the 2013 tax-filing season on Wednesday, eight days later than originally planned.
That means the agency will begin accepting tax returns that day, and the vast majority of taxpayers should be able to start filing returns, whether electronically or on paper.
However, the IRS said some taxpayers won’t be able to start filing until late February or March because there are several tax forms affected by the late tax legislation that require more extensive programming and testing of IRS systems.
This group of taxpayers includes people claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits.
The specific date for when those taxpayers can begin filing will be announced later.
“Some 2012 tax forms that cannot be filed beginning on Jan. 30 are not yet available,” the IRS said on its website. “We continue to work as quickly as possible on updates and will post them on IRS.gov as updates are completed.”
For taxpayers with simpler tax situations, all tax forms and instructions needed have been posted on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs. You can also order tax forms by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-3676.
The 321 callers to the hotline, which was also sponsored by the Dallas CPA Society, also had questions about gift taxes and the taxing of Social Security benefits.
For this year, you can give up to $14,000 per donor per recipient without facing any gift taxes. That means you and your spouse can give up to $28,000 to any person tax-free.
As for Social Security benefits, you will have to pay federal taxes on them if you’re single and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a total income of more than $32,000.
The CPAs were surprised that few callers asked about the recent tax law changes and how it would affect them this year.
“It is time to wake up,” said Ken Sibley, partner at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP in Dallas. “You may have just gotten your W-2, but the new tax law is in place and you’d better be aware because the new tax law is here with a vengeance.”
For one thing, your paycheck is smaller this year because of the expiration of a temporary 32 percent cut in the Social Security payroll tax.
If you’re making $1,000 a week, this change means you’ll have $20 less per week in your pocket.
Also, higher-income taxpayers will be paying more taxes and will start losing personal exemptions and itemized deductions.
Follow Pamela Yip on Twitter at @pamelayip.